Smartwatch Market Records 53% Growth in Q3: Counterpoint


The top five brands, which make up for around 69 per cent of the smartwatch shipments by volume in the July-September quarter dominated the market

The shipments of smartwatch globally witnessed a growth of 53 per cent in the third quarter of 2018 from a year ago period, backed by a strong performance from Fitbit, start-ups like Amazfit and kids watch brands such as imoo.

The top five brands, which make up for around 69 per cent of the smartwatch shipments by volume in the July-September quarter dominated the market, according to the data revealed by global industry analysis firm Counterpoint.

Apple dominates the market

The shipments of Apple in the third quarter grew by 24 per cent compared to previous quarter and 31% year-on-year, on the back of enthusiastic response received by the company for its Watch Series 4.

Commenting on the Apple’s performance, Jeff Fieldhack, Research Director, Counterpoint, said, “Apple continues to dominate the smartwatch market with a lion’s share of 30% of the smartwatches shipped. The introduction of the Series 4 this fall was the biggest update from a design and features standpoint and has quickly resonated with Apple’s loyal user base. Apple’s Series 3 saw an uptick later in the quarter with discounted pricing, while Apple’s Series 1 continued to be the single biggest selling SKU contributing to almost half of all Apple Watch shipments. This could change in holiday season quarter as our channel checks showed pent-up demand for the Series 4.”

Health factor

The share of Fitbit in smartwatch shipments increased to 16 per cent, mainly supported by the continued success of its Versa smartwatch that was launched in April this year.

Satyajit Sinha, Analyst at Counterpoint, said, “Fitbit continues to shift its focus from predominantly smart band/trackers to smartwatches and has now evolved as the next best player to Apple in terms of experience and scale. The launch of the Versa smartwatch was the turning point for Fitbit’s smartwatch segment growth. The health/fitness factor is playing a key role in driving consumer decision making for the adoption of smartwatches and Fitbit has entirely focused on this core use case.”

Imoo, a sub-brand of a China-based original equipment manufacturer BBK Group that also owns Vivo, OPPO and OnePlus brands, has a healthy share of 10 per cent in the third quarter of 2018.

Korean multinational Samsung’s shipments of smartwatch recorded a growth of 7 per cent compared to previous quarter and 22 per cent year-on-year due to better performance of its Gear S3 as well as new Galaxy Watch revealed in August this year.

Amazfit held a 3 per cent global market share and recorded a 41 per cent growth in July-September quarter as compared to the previous quarter. Amazfit is a sub-brand of a China-based original equipment manufacturer Huami, which also manufacture wearable items for Xiaomi.

The established trade channels and awareness about Mi brand smartphones and bands will help the Amazfit to expand in newer regions such as India, the firm said.

Cellular connectivity to drive smartwatch market

Cellular connectivity makes smartwatches to work independently of phones. This we believe will drive the smartwatch market. By this year end, cellular-capable watches are expected to contribute 20% to the global smartwatch shipments, said Counterpoint.

The kids’ smartwatch segment is rising rapidly, mainly in the markets of Asia, backed by Chinese brands such as Kido, Imoo, TCL, Kurio and Vtech in the US, the firm added.

Hanish Bhatia, Senior Analyst at Counterpoint, said, “The segment is attractive for operators as well; there are significant net adds to be gained by Chinese operators and bigger operators such as Vodafone with their V IoT portfolio, AIS Thailand and Maxis in Malaysia, all of which have added kids’ smartwatches to their portfolios to boost new connections and additional revenue streams.”

“However, a few countries in Europe have been scrutinising kids’ smartwatches with tracking features (GPS) over security concerns. This is especially the case in the new GDPR environment. So, robust security and user experience will be key to success for this segment,” he added.