The global smartwatch shipments in the first quarter recorded a growth of 35 per cent year-on-year, as per Counterpoint Research's latest global smartwatch model tracker. Apple, yet again, remained the top smartwatch vendor and recorded a 50 per cent year-on-year increase in the demand for the new Apple Watch Series 6 model.
During Q1 2021, Apple's market share climbed from 30.3 per cent in Q1 2020 to 33.5 per cent in Q1 2021. As per Counterpoint data, Huawei was the second smartwatch player, though, saw a decline in market share from 10.1 per cent in Q1 2020 to 8.4 per cent in Q1 2021. Similarly, Samsung also recorded a drop in the smartwatch market share to 8 per cent in Q1 2021 from 8.5 per cent in Q1 2020. Counterpoint Research global smartwatch tracker data shows that all smartwatch players registered a drop in market share except Apple.
Counterpoint's Senior Analyst Sujeong Lim says that Apple managed to increase the smartwatch market share by widening the portfolio from Apple Watch SE to Apple Watch Series 6 last year, and that has helped the company.
Coming to the smartwatch OS platforms, Counterpoint Research data shows that Apple's watchOS also led the segment compared to other platforms. Based on the new data, watchOS captured over a third of the market. Notably, the report mentions that Google's Wear OS has so far not received such record growth in the smartwatch segment. The data further shows that Wear OS is available on less than 4 per cent of smartwatches.
With Google announcing a partnership with Samsung for the wearable segment, we can expect the Wear OS (Tizen OS) market share to increase in the next couple of years. The upcoming Wear OS version is likely to pack the best of Tizen OS as well as Fitbit OS. While Google or Samsung hasn't revealed any timeline for the first product featuring the new smartwatch OS, we can expect the widely rumoured Pixel Watch to be among the first to run it. We can also expect Samsung's next-gen Galaxy Watch to feature the new OS.
Lim, on the upcoming Wear OS version and new smartwatches, said, "Hopefully, Google's new Wear platform will be shipping in the next generation of the Galaxy Watch series in late Fall. It will be good for the companies involved. The focus would be to not only improve performance, such as battery life, but also improve on the AI, newer apps and services, and integration with Android smartphones. Samsung will also be able to better target the broader Android smartphone user base. With the completion of the acquisition of Fitbit, Google should be able to enhance the Wear platform with 'fitness' capabilities and services integration, moving forward."
The important thing to note here is that if Google and Samsung bring their new smartwatches running all-new Wear OS by the second half, they might face a stiff challenge from Apple's upcoming Series 7 model that is likely to launch by September 2021.
To recall, Apple Watch Series 6 price in India starts at Rs 40,900 while the Apple Watch SE model prices start at Rs 29,900. The company also continues to sell the Apple Watch Series 3 model at Rs 20,900 in India.
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