Global smartwatch shipments rose by 1.5% in the fourth quarter of 2020

Impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, global smartwatch shipments in the fourth quarter of 2020 saw a slight year-on-year (YoY) decrease to book an almost flat 2020, according to Counterpoint Research’s latest Global Smartphone Shipments Tracker. 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% points, helping shift the overall market closer to the premium segment.

Global smartwatch shipments share, Q4 2020 vs Q4 2019

Counterpoint Research Global Smartwatch Shipments Share, Q4 2020 vs Q4 2019

The Apple Watch Series 6 and SE did well, shipping 12.9 million units and accounting for 40% market share in the fourth quarter of 2020. Samsung increased its share by 1% point YoY, rebounding in the latter half of the year with the launch of its Galaxy 3 Watch.

Global smartwatch shipments, 2020 vs 2019

Counterpoint Research Global Smartwatch Shipments, 2020 vs 2019

Huawei helped drive growth of the overall smartwatch market with shipments that grew 26% YoY despite US 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.

Global smartwatch shipments share by retail price band, Q4 2020 vs Q4 2019

Counterpoint Research Global Smartwatch Shipments Share by Retail Price Band, Q4 2020 vs Q4 2019

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 the fourth quarter of 2020 indicate ASPs (average selling prices) are on the rise. 2019’s biggest segment ($101-$200) shrank by 7%pts, while the more premium $300-plus segments grew by 8%pts, helped tremendously by Apple, which enjoyed a dominant market share of over 70% in this category.”

Lim added: “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.”

Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.


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