The global market for smartwatches, despite the pandemic, posted 20% revenue growth in the first half of 2020, even as shipments remained flat. In addition, Apple now holds more than 50% of the global market share in the category.
That’s according to new research released this week by Counterpoint Research, which found that the smartwatch category is growing, contrary to the smartphone category and other markets which have suffered during the coronavirus pandemic.
Around forty-two million smartwatches were shipped in the first half of the year, around the world with the U.S. and Europe posting single-digit gains while other markets, including India, saw larger ones.
“Apple continued to dominate the smartwatch market both in volume and value. Apple captured a record half of the market in terms of revenue due to strong demand for the Apple Watch S5 models,” Sujeong Lim, a Counterpoint senior analyst, said in the announcement.
Apple now holds 51.4% of the global market in terms of revenue, with Garmin second at 9.4%, Samsung third with 7.2%, and Imho fifth with 5.1%. Apple’s% in the first half of 2019 was just 43.2%, and at that point, Samsung was second and Garmin was third.
Google’s wearOS is the second most popular smartphone operating system, behind Apple’s watchOS. Counterpoint also said that cellular-equipped smartwatches are becoming more popular, now accounting for about one in four of global smartwatches shipped.
“Huawei benefitted from significant demand for its smartwatches, especially the Watch GT2 series in Asian markets. Garmin, the second-largest brand in terms of revenue globally, continued to make strides cornering the sports enthusiast and athlete market,” Neil Shah, Counterpoint’s vice president of research, said in the announcement.
“The brand saw healthy demand (+31% YoY) for its Forerunner and Fenix line, making up one of the broadest portfolios of smartwatches in the market. Europe and North America remain the key markets for Garmin.”
Garmin was once best known in the United States for standalone car GPS devices, a category that largely disappeared with the advent of smartphones. And Chinese-made Huawei products, of course, are not allowed in the United States.
Apple, which unveiled the latest watchOS software earlier this summer at its “virtual” World Wide Developers Conference, is expected to release the newest Apple Watch this fall, while the rumor mill has indicated that perhaps the company is eying the release of a cheaper “Apple Watch SE.”
Samsung, meanwhile, unveiled its latest smartwatch, the Galaxy Watch 3, at its Unpacked event on August 5. That device, which can take ECG and blood pressure readings, will cost around $400.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.