Apple Watch Maintains Top Spot in Global Smartwatch Market in Q1 2021

Apple has once again managed to retain its top position in the global smartwatch market.

The latest data from Counterpoint Research shows the smartwatch market grew 35 percent year-on-year (YoY) in Q1 2021 with Apple taking the lead once again, followed by Huawei and Samsung.

Thanks to Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch Series 6 sales, Apple was able to solidify its position in the smartwatch space, globally capturing 33.5 percent market share in Q1 2021. In the first quarter of last year, Apple had secured 30.3 percent smartwatch market share that put it comfortable ahead of the competition even last year. The Cupertino giant also saw 50 percent YoY increase in demand for the new Apple Watch Series 6 models, Counterpoint noted.

Samsung’s shipments also rose 27 percent year-over-year, with the popularity of the Galaxy Watch 3 and Galaxy Watch Active series. However, Counterpoint Research says the South Korean vendor’s growth was below the market average and it saw a small dip in its market share. Huawei continued to lose share compared to a strong quarter a year ago.

“Apple was able to further solidify its leadership position in the market by widening the portfolio from Watch SE to Series 6 at the right time,” says Senior Analyst Sujeong Lim. “This may drive Samsung to launch a mid-price-tier model to boost growth.”

In terms of smartwatch OS platforms, Apple’s watchOS captured more than a third of the market with a growing attach rate to its base of billion iPhone users. Counterpoint says Google’s Wear OS has not yet achieved such success in smartwatches because most of the major smartwatch brands have developed and installed their own proprietary OS (like Fitbit OS, Tizen and Garmin OS).

Now that Google announced its partnership with Samsung at Google I/O 2021 to collectively develop its Wear OS – and considering it already owns Fitbit – it would be interesting to see how this consolidation plays out.

Highlighting why there is so much excitement for wrist wearables among tech companies, Vice President of Counterpoint Research Neil Shah said, “Wearable devices and services are going to become important for companies such as Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon as they increasingly expand their reach in healthcare, pharmaceutical and insurance verticals directly or indirectly. This can include selling services such as Apple Fitness+, predictively cross-selling medicines and healthcare solutions, or attracting marketers to their ad platforms based on the health profiles built with the enormous amount of data generated via the number of sensors on these wearable devices.”

“Further, addition of advanced voice AI and ML capabilities on these devices will make wrist as one of the key segments technology companies will go after this decade before adding eyes/brain-based advanced wearable devices to the mix.”