Research analyst Strategy Analytics calculates that global smartwatch shipments grew by 56% year on year to reach 18.2 million units in the fourth quarter of 2018.
Apple Watch outsold all rivals with 51% global smartwatch marketshare, while Samsung jumped to second place, overtaking Fitbit and Garmin.
Global smartwatch shipments hit an all-time high of 45 million units in 2018.
“Smartwatch growth is soaring, as consumers seek to accessorize their smartphones and bring digital connectivity to their wrists,” says Steven Waltzer, industry analyst at Strategy Analytics.
Apple shipped 9.2 million smartwatches worldwide in Q4 2018, up 18% from 7.8 million units in Q4 2017, but its global smartwatch market share slipped to 51% in the quarter, down from 67% a year ago. “Apple Watch is losing market share to Samsung and Fitbit, whose rival smartwatch portfolios and retail presence have improved significantly in the past year,” suggests Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics.
Samsung shipped 2.4 million smartwatches worldwide and captured 13% share in Q4 2018, rising strongly from 5 percent market share a year ago with its new Galaxy Watch proving popular in North America and Asia. “Samsung has a good pipeline of new models for 2019, such as the innovative Galaxy Watch Active with blood-pressure tracking, and Samsung should perform well this year,” predicts Steven Waltzer, industry analyst at Strategy Analytics.
Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “Fitbit captured 13 percent global smartwatch market share in Q4 2018, tripling from 4 percent in Q4 2017. Fitbit is becoming established as a top-tier smartwatch brand. Fitbit is very popular in the United States market. Fitbit’s Versa smartwatches are gaining mass-appeal and its new Fitbit Care connected health platform is a useful differentiator for the brand. Garmin held fourth position and captured 6 percent worldwide smartwatch market share during Q4 2018, holding steady from 6 percent a year ago. Rising competition from Fitbit, Samsung and others in the sports and music categories is making it harder for Garmin to make headway in smartwatches. Combined together, Apple, Samsung, Fitbit and Garmin are the big four players, accounting for 8 in 10 of all smartwatches shipped worldwide.”
Strategy Analytics does track more than just the tech players in the smartwatch market, but sees little impact from the traditional watchmakers that are producing connected timepieces. “Fossil is currently the only major fashion watch player in the top 10 global smartwatch rankings. Fossil has done a reasonable job of seeding European and American markets with affordable models, like the Venture HR. Other players have limited global retail presence in smartwatch channels, like Swatch. Others are overpriced and ultra-niche, like Tag Heuer, and sell very few units,” Mr Mawston tells WatchPro.
Global Smartwatch Vendor Shipments and Market Share in Q4 2018
|Global Smartwatch Vendor Shipments (Millions of Units)||Q4 ’17||2017||Q4 ’18||2018|
|Global Smartwatch Vendor Market share (% of Total)||Q4 ’17||2017||Q4 ’18||2018|
|Total Growth YoY (%)||41%||39%||56%||54%|
|Source: Strategy Analytics|