According to Counterpoint, Apple retained its lead in a record-setting year for the smartwatch market.
The research giant’s analysts noted how the smartwatch market barely grew in 2020 as COVID-19 still had the world firmly in its grip. However, in 2021, the market staged quite a comeback.
Counterpoint Research’s Global Smartwatch Model Tracker found the market recorded 24 percent YoY growth in 2021. Q4 was the most impressive with more than 40 million units shipped; the highest quarterly shipments ever.
Sujeong Lim, Associate Director at Counterpoint, said:
“The global smartwatch market’s good growth in 2021 is meaningful in itself, but it is more meaningful in that it makes us look forward to future growth.
With their ability to monitor important health parameters like blood pressure, ECG and SPO2, these devices are becoming popular.
Further, the attractiveness of smartwatches as independent wearable devices will increase if more of them start supporting cellular connectivity.”
Apple retained the lion’s share (30.1%) of all smartwatch shipments in 2021 but slightly lost marketshare compared to the 32.9 percent it achieved in 2020.
Samsung appears to be finding success with its decision to rejoin the Wear OS ecosystem. The company’s QoQ growth was more than 200 percent in Q3—the brand’s most impressive shipments to date.
Fossil, previously one of Wear OS’ leading manufacturers, appears to have suffered from Samsung’s success. While accounting for only 2.2 percent of the market in 2020, Fossil didn’t even register on the tracker in 2021 and just got bundled in with other manufacturers.
Garmin managed a slight improvement from 4.3 percent marketshare in 2020 to 4.6 percent in 2021. While only a small uptick, it was enough to drive the manufacturer up into sixth place by global ranking.
Fitbit, meanwhile, fell from fifth place (5.7% marketshare) in 2020 to seventh (3.8%) in 2021 as the brand failed to launch any new models. Counterpoint assumes this is due to internal strategy changes after Google’s bumper acquisition of the company.
Counterpoint noted that market growth is being driven by demand for sub-$100 smartwatches.
Indian smartwatch brand Noise made its way into the global top nine brands after making some, ahem, noise, in its home market. The manufacturer achieved 2.6 percent marketshare in 2021.
“Noise is the No.1 Indian smartwatch brand and leads the growth of the local market. It captured the top position in 2021 due to its diverse product portfolio targeting the budget and mid segments, as well as strong partnerships with e-commerce players, financial institutions and celebrities,” commented Anshika Jain, Senior Research Analyst at Counterpoint.
“Noise also focused on community building and slightly shifted its price base towards the lower side to make its smartwatches accessible to a larger group of people, a strategy that proved to be effective. All this resulted in Noise ranking third in terms of shipments after Apple and Samsung in the APAC region except China in 2021.”
Amazfit, another brand making a name for itself in terms of price-to-performance, recorded 20 percent YoY growth over the past years. However, its marketshare only grew from 5.0 percent in 2020 to 5.1 percent in 2021.
Huawei’s shipments declined from 10.7 percent marketshare in 2020 to 7.7 percent in 2021. This is likely due to US sanctions.
With the cost of living on the increase, the appetite for cheaper but increasingly capable devices may continue to erode the demand for more premium alternatives.
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