Global smartwatch shipments grew a healthy rate of 41% year-on-year (YoY) in 2018 driven by popular brands such as Apple, imoo, Fitbit, and Samsung according to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Global Smartwatch Tracker.
Counterpoint research analyst, Satyajit Sinha, said that Apple Watch Series 4 remains the star performer – selling 11.5 million units in 2018 alone.
“We believe its success was due to its focus on health-related features like ECG and fall detection,” said Sinha.
“Further, it speaks volumes of how far Apple has come with Apple Watch as a meaningful health device.”
Sinha added that the overall smartwatch segment is going through a phase of evolution of cellular capabilities, which will turn them into true standalone wearable devices.
“Players like Apple, imoo, Samsung, Huawei, Ticwatch, and other kids watch brands were the early adopters. However, Apple and imoo cellular smartwatch contributed to 13% and 10% of 2018 shipments, respectively,” he said.
Most popular smartwatches
The top five best-selling smartwatches accounted for 48% of the market in 2018.
Three out of the top five models came from Apple. For Fitbit, the launch of the Verse smartwatch was a turning point as the brand was struggling to get a foothold in the market.
The other entrant in the top five best-selling models list was imoo’s Z3, a 4G LTE based kids watch. The Z3 is supported by Qualcomm Wear 2100 and is IPX8 water-resistant.
Samsung grew exponentially at 90% YoY as the Korean brand’s market share jumped to 9% in 2018.
Samsung had a 50% of smartwatch shipments, represented by its Galaxy Watch series launched at the beginning of Q3 2018 with better battery life.
“The rotating bezel to navigate the UI and a very traditional round clock face design are the most appealing Samsung features for smartwatch consumer,” said Counterpoint senior analyst, Sujeong Lim.
Huawei also grew exponentially at 129% YoY helping the Chinese brand’s market share grow to 2% in 2018.
“Banking on its proprietary OS, striking design, and affordability, Huawei is gaining good traction, and we expect Huawei’s smartwatch segment will be its only consumer segment which will see a growth in 2019.
“We expect growth to be particularly strong in China and South East Asia,” said Counterpoint senior analyst Ethan Qi.