Counterpoint research reported that smartwatch shipments grew 48% YoY (year-on-year) in Q1 2019. Samsung, Fitbit, and Huawei made massive growths; however, one in every three shipments was still an Apple Watch.
Nine smartwatch brands are contributors to 75% of the Q1 market, and leading the pack is of course Apple. Counterpoint research analyst Satyajit Sinha reported that Apple Watch shipments grew a total of 49% YoY and now makes up 35.8% of the global smartwatch shipments market share. Sinha goes on to say that "despite the weak demand for its iPhones, Apple continues to focus on the health-related features like ECG and fall detection in the Apple Watch Series 4.The ECG capability in the Apple Watch is the most desirable feature, according to our latest Consumer Lens survey."
Also according to Sinha, Samsung was the next front-runner in the smartwatch competition. He stated that the company grew 127% YoY as it now holds 11% of the market share from Q1. "Its success was due to the latest Galaxy watch series which came with better battery life as well as a very traditional round clockface design." The Galaxy Watch also provided LTE connectivity and remains the most popular Android compatible smartwatch on the market.
Another Android competitor Huawei saw it's share leap 3% in Q1. The report suggests that the growth was due to the brand's recent success with the Huawei Watch GT. It is also noted that it's sub-brand HONOR is doing well with selling smart bands. Fitbit still holds its ground as a competitor, as the company held 5.5% of the market share in Q1. The other major fitness oriented brand, Garmin, sits at the bottom of the list with only 1.5% of the share and experiencing a loss in growth YoY.
Fossil, which acts as one of the major vessels for Google's Wear OS, also experienced a loss in the market and in Q1 held only 2.5% of it. This report is an accurate summary of how Wear OS has been doing as a whole. Compared to other smartwatch software like the Apple Watch's watchOS, and even Samsung's Tizen, consumers have complained plenty. Everything from out-dated chipsets from Qualcomm to Google simply not updating it accordingly have been noted.
The future isn't all bad for Wear OS though. Back in 2018, Qualcomm released a new processor for smartwatches which has since been built into several different wearables. As for software, Google just recently announced an update to Wear OS called Tiles. This update will implement widgets on watches that run the software, making navigating the UI much easier.
Similarly, news of Google's Pixel Watch has been floating around the internet. A patent showing a new clasp design for changing watch bands is believed to be granted to Google. Furthermore, Google posted new job openings which hint at the company's ambitious goal for wearables in the future.
As for now, Apple still holds a strong lead over any other smartwatch brand. If Google wishes to take any of the markets for itself, the rumored Pixel Watch will have to check all the boxes. Counterpoint mentioned that health and fitness related features such as pedometers, GPS, and even ECG are a big contributor to the growth in smartwatch shipments. If the Pixel Watch can do all that and have great battery life, the future for Android wearables could be brighter than some expect.