Global smartwatch shipments grew 56 percent annually to reach 18 million units in the fourth quarter of 2018. Apple Watch maintained first position with 51 percent global smartwatch marketshare, while Samsung jumped to second place, overtaking Fitbit and Garmin, said a analysis from Strategy Analytics.
“Global smartwatch shipments grew an impressive 56 percent annually from 11.6 million units in Q4 2017 to a record 18.2 million in Q4 2018. Global smartwatch shipments hit an all-time high of 45.0 million units in full-year 2018. Smartwatch growth is soaring, as consumers seek to accessorize their smartphones and bring digital connectivity to their wrists,” said Steven Waltzer, Industry Analyst at Strategy Analytics.
According to report, Apple shipped 9.2 million smartwatches worldwide in Q4 2018, rising 18 percent from 7.8 million units in Q4 2017. Apple's global smartwatch marketshare slipped to 51 percent this quarter, down from 67 percent a year ago. Apple Watch is losing marketshare to Samsung and Fitbit, whose rival smartwatch portfolios and retail presence have improved significantly in the past year, said the report.
On the other hand, Samsung shipped 2.4 million smartwatches worldwide and captured 13 percent global smartwatch marketshare in Q4 2018, rising strongly from 5 percent marketshare a year ago. Samsung is once again the world's second largest smartwatch brand. Its new Galaxy Watch proved popular in North America and Asia. Samsung has a good pipeline of new models for 2019, such as the innovative Galaxy Watch Active with blood-pressure tracking, and Samsung should perform well this year.
Other key players such as Fitbit captured 13 percent global smartwatch marketshare in Q4 2018, tripling from 4 percent in Q4 2017. Fitbit is becoming established as a top-tier smartwatch brand, said the report. Fitbit is very popular in the United States market. Fitbit's Versa smartwatches are gaining mass-appeal and its new Fitbit Care connected health platform is a useful differentiator for the brand.
Garmin held fourth position and captured 6 percent worldwide smartwatch marketshare during Q4 2018, holding steady from 6 percent a year ago. Rising competition from Fitbit, Samsung and others in the sports and music categories is making it harder for Garmin to make headway in smartwatches. Combined together, Apple, Samsung, Fitbit and Garmin are the big four players, accounting for 8 in 10 of all smartwatches shipped worldwide, said the report.