Apple, Garmin, and Huawei continue to top the smartwatch market in 2020

Despite a global economic downtown due to COVID-19, smartwatch sales have seen a healthy rise in revenue over the last few months. According to market research firm Counterpoint Research, Apple, Garmin, and Huawei wearables comprised nearly 70% of the total smartwatch market revenue in the first six months of 2020. The Apple Watch continues to dominate with over 50% of the total market share, up from 43% in H1 2019.“Close to 42 million smartwatches were shipped in the first half of 2020 as wearables continue to see greater demand with consumers becoming more health conscious,” said Counterpoint Research Senior Analyst Sujeong Lim.

Global Smartwatch Shipment Revenue Share % in H1 2020 vs H1 2019. Source: Counterpoint Research

As people around the globe were forced into quarantine, many consumers began to prioritize taking care of their health, so rather than purchase a new smartphone, they opted to get a wearable. Smartwatch shipments grew in India (+57% YoY), Europe (+9% YoY), and the U.S. (+5% YoY), which Counterpoint Research says offset the decline in other markets.

In China and other Asian markets, Huawei’s Watch GT2 series was a popular option, with the Chinese company’s smartwatch shipment volumes jumping 90% in China and Asia and 57% globally YoY. This growth propelled Huawei to the #2 position in H1 2020 in terms of global smartwatch shipment revenue. Meanwhile, Garmin’s Forerunner and Fenix lines were popular with audiences in Europe and North America, with overall demand for the Forerunner and Fenix lines up 31% YoY. Granted, Garmin and Huawei only grabbed a combined total of 17.7% of the global smartwatch shipment revenue in H1 2020, a far cry from Apple’s 51.4%, but the two companies have nonetheless achieved a good return considering the circumstances.

Amazfit, Xiaomi, Fitbit, Mobvoi, and Suunto are also mentioned in Counterpoint Research’s data, but their market shares are drops in the bucket compared to Apple’s smartwatch business, which was led by last year’s Apple Watch Series 5. Nonetheless, Amazfit and Xiaomi both posted respectable growth figures (51% and 47% YoY respectively), and there’s still room to grow, especially with the upcoming holiday shopping season in play. Samsung, previously the #2 player in smartwatches, struggled a bit in H1 2020, but the new Galaxy Watch 3 could turn the tide for the Korean company in H2 2020.

Global Smartwatch Best-Selling Models by Shipment Volumes, H1 2020. Source: Counterpoint Research

Some of the common health features found in the market’s top-selling smartwatches include heart rate monitors and fall detection. The square form factor apparently sells better than other designs, which could be due to the fact that the square design allows manufacturers to squeeze in more sensors and battery power. LTE-capable smartwatches are also becoming more popular, with over one in four smartwatches shipped in H1 2020 featuring a cellular modem. That shift benefits Qualcomm which recently announced its Snapdragon Wear 4100 wearable platform earlier this year.

As the smartwatch category continues to rise in popularity, one thing to look out for in the future is how Google’s hardware division will enter the market. While the company makes the Android-based Wear OS platform, which accounted for 10% of the total smartwatch market in H1 2020, it doesn’t sell its own smartwatch yet. However, Google’s push to acquire Fitbit hints the company very much intends to renew its focus on wearables once regulatory hurdles are cleared.

Featured image: Huawei Watch GT 2

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