Apple maintained its solid number one position and increased its global market share in the smartwatch segment, helping shift the overall market closer to the premium segment.
Impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, global smartwatch shipments in the fourth quarter of 2020 saw a slight year-on-year decrease to book an almost flat 2020, according to the latest Global Smartphone Shipments Tracker from Counterpoint Research.
In a year where annual growth inched forward at only 1.5%, Apple maintained its solid number one position and increased its market share by 6 percentage points (pp), helping shift the overall market closer to the premium segment.
The Apple Watch Series 6 and SE did well, shipping 12.9 million units and accounting for 40% market share in Q4 2020. Samsung increased its share by 1pp YoY, rebounding in the latter half of the year with the launch of its Galaxy 3 Watch.
Huawei helped drive growth of the overall smartwatch market with shipments that grew 26% YoY despite U.S. sanctions. HONOR, newly spun off from Huawei, also did well, with shipments doubling from 2019. Other Chinese brands such as Amazfit and Xiaomi also performed well, enjoying double-digit growth.
There has been a significant market shift to more expensive watches, with premium vendors like Apple, Samsung and Garmin helping to shore up the high end.
Counterpoint Senior Analyst Sujeong Lim said, “Price band dynamics during Q4 2020 indicate ASPs (average selling prices) are on the rise. 2019’s biggest segment ($101-$200) shrank by 7pp, while the more premium $300-plus segments grew by 8pp, helped tremendously by Apple, which enjoyed a dominant market share of over 70% in this category.”
According to Lim, the smartwatch market is being driven by three premium brands—Apple, Samsung and Huawei.
“We believe the ASPs will continue to rise over the next two to three years as these companies’ flagship models continue to lead. On the other hand, Apple’s success with its Watch SE model will likely spur others like Samsung to release similar variants, moving closer to the mass market. Over a three to four years’ timeframe, we see budget players like OPPO and realme gaining a significant share, intensifying overall competition and bringing down the prices,” she added.