Apple’s Share of the Smartwatch Market Drops below 45% in the Second Half of 2018


While the overall smartwatch market is experiencing steady growth, Apple’s hold on share continues to slip. ABI Research, a market-foresight advisory firm providing strategic guidance on the most compelling transformative technologies, forecasts that smartwatches will see shipments increase from 40 million in 2018 to over 99 million in 2023, with Apple’s share of the market in 2Q and 3Q 2018 dropping to 43.35%, its lowest point since the same time last year. It is however still ahead in the market, with Fitbit, Huawei, and Samsung following behind at roughly 8% each, with the ‘others’ market seeing an increase in the share.

The smartwatch market is a major part of the overall wearables market, offering consumers access to a large number of wearable features, such as fitness tracking, notifications, and heart rate monitoring, from the wrist,” says Stephanie Tomsett, Research Analyst at ABI Research. “As the number of flagship and budget smartwatches continues to grow, consumers are increasingly opting for devices from companies other than Apple, such as Fitbit, Huawei, and Samsung. Hence, Apple has seen its market share drop over the past couple of quarters.”

The Apple Watch 4 is an advanced device, offering the usual notifications, fitness and heart rate tracking, as well as an LTE option, Siri, and extra features such as a fall sensor and ECG readings in the United States. While few devices offer similar options, particularly the latter two, a large number of other smartwatches are available from companies such as Fitbit, Huawei, and Samsung, many at a cheaper price with a longer battery life and improved smartphone compatibility, but with fewer features. Consumers are increasingly weighing up the benefits and costs between the extra features and the longer battery life/cheaper price.

The Apple Watch retails from US$399 without LTE and from US$499 with LTE, with a battery life of around 18 hours, and is compatible with iOS devices. The Samsung Galaxy Watch, which has many of the same features except a fall sensor and ECG capabilities, hence its lower price, retails from US$329 without LTE and from US$379 with LTE, with a battery life of around 3 days, and is compatible with iOS and Android devices. The Fitbit Versa, which lacks the same features as the Galaxy and also doesn’t offer an LTE version, again, hence its lower price, retails from US$199.95, with a battery life of around 4 days, and is compatible with iOS and Android devices. The Huawei Watch GT, which offers self-learning heart rate monitoring and GPS alongside the normal smartwatch features, retails from US$230, with a long battery life of 14 days, and is compatible with iOS and Android devices.

Apple will continue to ship a large number of smartwatches to both loyal and new customers. “However, with so many other smartwatches available with most of the major features of the Apple Watch, at a reduced price, increased battery life, or with greater compatibility with a larger number of smartphone OSs, more consumers are likely to move away from Apple in favor of these other devices,” Tomsett concluded.

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