Last year it was predicted that the demand for smartwatches will increase in 2021. And today that prediction comes true. Counterpoint Research just released a study on how smartwatches shipped in the first quarter, and according to that study, the market grew 35% year over year.
Unsurprisingly, this market is still dominated by Apple, which has seen its shipments grow by 50% thanks to the Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch 6. The market share thus increased by 3 points compared to the first quarter of 2020.
On the Samsung side, shipments also increased by 27%. That growth was slower than that of the market, however, so the Korean giant reduced its stake in the first quarter.
According to Sujeong Lim, a senior analyst at Counterpoint, “Apple was able to further consolidate its leadership position in the market by expanding the Watch SE portfolio to Series 6 at the right time. This could lead Samsung to launch a mid-price model to drive growth. For its part, Huawei continues to fall.
Logically, Watch OS is the most popular operating system as it has captured more than a third of the connected watch market. Wear OS, for its part, had a share of 4%.
“In fact, most of the major smartwatch brands have developed and installed their own proprietary operating systems (such as Fitbit OS, Tizen, and Garmin OS),” says Counterpoint. The company also points out the lack of certain features in the Google OS, as well as the lack of optimization for the battery.
2021, a crucial year
While the market is still dominated by Apple, Google has finally decided to shake things up on Wear OS. During its I / O conference, Mountain View announced a partnership with Samsung in connected watches.
In essence, the two companies decided to combine their platforms to combine the different benefits of each. Thus, the new Google platform benefits from improved performance and autonomy. And Samsung watches can benefit from Google’s services. Of course, this uniform platform can also be used by other manufacturers.
In addition, Google will also integrate some features from Fitbit (the watch specialist it bought for $ 2.1 billion) into the Wear OS platform. In addition, Fitbit will develop watches that use Wear OS instead of the proprietary operating system.
Changes are also expected from Huawei. In fact, the Chinese giant is preparing to market watches with its Harmony OS operating system.
“Huawei continued to face headwinds due to declining smartwatch sales and the quality of Huawei watch optimization for its smartphones. It will be interesting to see when Huawei launches its first Harmony OS-based watch, as suggested at Huawei’s analyst summit last month. This should open up a new ecosystem for developers to create experiences for the wrist, ”said Sunjeong Lim.
Earlier this year, Counterpoint released a report predicting increasing demand for the smartwatch category. An increase attributable to the normalization of economies and increased consumer interest in health and fitness.
In addition, rumors are already circulating about the next innovations that could land on the networked watch market. According to one of these rumors, for example, the next Apple Watch could benefit from new optical sensors that can measure both blood sugar and alcohol levels.