Apple Watch has been leader of the global smartwatch market for a while now, and as per fresh market analysis reports, that lead is only going up with each passing quarter. The Counterpoint Research Global Smartwatch Tracker report for the first quarter of 2021 suggests that Apple has further consolidated its lead at the top with a market share of 33.5 percent.
The company recorded a growth of roughly 3 percent compared to the same quarter last year, fueled by the sale of Apple Watch Series 6 and the more budget-centric Apple Watch SE. The Apple Watch Series 6, in particular, witnessed a 50 percent YoY increase in demand. Moreover, the share of watchOS as a smartwatch platform also rose to 33.5 percent, far ahead of Tizen sitting at the second position with a market share of 8 percent by the end of 2021’s first quarter.
But it’s not the dominance of Apple that is worth the debate here. HUAWEI, which continues to bleed money owing to US trade sanctions, currently sits at the second spot with a market share of 8.4 percent at the end of Q1 2021. A year ago, HUAWEI commanded a market share of 10.1 percent, but taking into consideration the current state of affairs, things are not likely going to improve in the immediate future.
At the third spot is Samsung with a marginally lower market share of 8.0 percent in Q1 2021. Despite seeing its shipment figures go up by 27 percent on a YoY basis, the market share of Samsung actually dipped by 0.5 percent. However, things are about to change in the upcoming quarter, especially with Wear OS now becoming a part of the equation.
Will Tizen + Wear OS help Samsung against Apple?
Earlier this month, Samsung announced that it is merging the in-house Tizen OS with Google’s Wear OS to create a unified smartwatch platform. Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy Watch 4 series will make a return to Wear OS, and if Google’s promise is to be believed, we might finally see a battery life improvement and performance uptick.
Samsung can benefit from the vast app ecosystem that Wear OS offers, which means users will have access to a lot more services than what Tizen offered. From early analysis of industry sentiments, the upcoming Galaxy Watch 4 has the potential to become the first solid Apple Watch competitor, and might end giving a long-delayed push to Wear OS while also boosting Samsung’s fortunes in the global smartwatch segment.
Apple has actually things interesting with the launch of Apple Watch SE, making inroads into the mid-range segment as well– and it appears that the gamble has paid off handsomely. If rivals, especially Samsung, aim to leave a mark, they will have to come up with solid alternatives in that budget segment as well, and not just compete with Apple Watch in the premium tier.