Just when you think that the smartwatch industry is already down and out for the count, it seems like it’s getting its second wind, at least when it comes to shipment numbers. According to Counterpoint’s Global Smartwatch Tracker, there was a 48% increase in smartwatch shipments for the 1st quarter of 2019. This is due in part to continued good numbers for the Apple Watch which is 1 in 3 of the devices shipped. But other brands like Samsung, Huawei, and Fitbit have also experienced “exponential” growth.
According to Counterpoint Senior Analyst Sujeong Lim, the reason for Samsung’s success for Q1 2019 is their new Galaxy Watch series. Because of this new product, their numbers increased by 127% year on year. This also means that their market share has increased to 11% which is still a long way from Apple’s 35.8% but is still good enough from the previous year’s 7.2%. Factors that may have made the new Galaxy watches appealing include better battery life, a traditional round clock face design, and cellular LTE connectivity.
Huawei has also increased their market share to 3% and this is due to the new Huawei Watch GT and its appealing design, relative affordability, and the growing demand from their growing smartphone user base. They have also focused on Huawei branded smartwatches while the smart bands are also selling well but this time under the Honor brand.
Apple however is still pretty much the dominant brand, getting 35.8% of the market and experiencing a great 49% year on year. They have been focusing on health-related features like the ECG and fall detection feature that they added to the Apple Watch Series 4. The limited battery life of the devices though is still the main issue for some potential buyers.
As for what’s next in the industry, Counterpoint Associate Director Brady Wang says that foldable displays may come soon even to smartwatches. Brands like Nubia are now attempting to have a smartphone + smartwatch device but it’s still in the early stages.