Wednesday, 26 June 2019 10:54

Apple retains lead as full 2018 smartwatch figures come in

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Apple retains lead as full 2018 smartwatch figures come in Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Global smartwatch shipments for the full year 2018 grew by 41% over the previous year with models from Apple. imoo, Fitbit and Samsung the main drivers, the analyst firm Counterpoint Research says.

The company said in its preliminary estimates for the second quarter of 2018, it had over-estimated the extent to which Apple Series 1 dominated compared to Apple Series 3. Corrected figures showed that Series 3 was the second most popular model for that year.

Counterpoint Research analyst Satyajit Sinha said: “Apple Watch shipments grew a solid 22% year-on-year in 2018. Apple Watch Series 4 was the star performer. It sold 11.5 million units during 2018, making it the best-selling model for the year.

"We believe its success was due to its focus on health-related features like ECG and fall detection. Further, it speaks volumes of how far Apple has come with Apple Watch as a meaningful health device."

{}loadposition sam08}The top five smartwatches accounted for 48% of the market in 2018. Three of the top five models were from Apple.

smartwatch years

Smartwatch shipments. Figures for 2019 are a projection.

The launch of the Verse smartwatch was a turning point for Fitbit as it was struggling to gain a foothold in the market.

The other entrant in the top five list was imoo’s Z3, a 4G LTE-based children's' watch. It is supported by Qualcomm Wear 2100 and is IPX8 water-resistant.

Sinha said the smartwatch segment was going through an evolution of cellular capabilities, which could make it a true standalone wearable device.

"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 added.

As to the performance of other companies, analyst Sujeong Lim noted, “Samsung grew exponentially at 90% year-on-year as the South Korean brand’s market share jumped to 9% in 2018.

"Samsung had 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 clockface design are the most appealing Samsung features for smartwatch consumer.”

Senior analyst Ethan Qi commented on Huawei's performance, saying: “Huawei grew exponentially at 129% year-on-year helping 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.”

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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