Garmin is now a smartwatch player, but Apple Watch is still dominating

Apple, Samsung and Garmin are now the ones to watch
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The Apple Watch still dominates 55% of the smartwatch market – but Garmin is surging into a top three position as the market continues to grow.

That’s the headline stats from the latest Strategy Analytics smartwatch report, which estimates that the market as a whole grew 20% YOY in Q1 2020.

So who are the winners and losers? As you might expect, Apple is still way out in front, with its sales of the Apple Watch up 22.6%, compared to Q1 2019, and it now commands 55% of the smartwatch market.

Samsung is second, and boosted sales by 11% year-on-year for the Q1 period and now owning 13.8% of the market, with its Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2. That is 1% down on 2019, where Apple has grabbed an additional 1%.

But it's Garmin that comes in third. Smartwatch sales are up 37.5% and it now commands the third highest share at 8% of the market – thanks to the Garmin Venu with its AMOLED screen and the ever popular Vivoactive 4.

The list doesn’t detail the “others” that makes up the remaining 22% of the smartwatch market, but we would imagine thus doesn’t make happy reading for Fitbit or Fossil Group – both of which are becoming also-rans.

Head-to-head: Garmin Forerunner 745 v Garmin Vivoactive 4

And according to Strategy Analytics, smartwatches have weathered the storm from the global coronavirus crisis – and the focus on health may indeed have driven demand:

“Despite considerable headwinds from the Covid-19 scare, global demand for smartwatches continued to grow. Smartwatches are selling well through online retail channels, while many consumers have been using smartwatches to monitor their health and fitness during virus lockdown,” said Steven Waltzer, Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics.

Garmin is now a smartwatch player, but Apple Watch is still dominating

And while the global lockdown will certainly dent growth in Q2, there are reasons to be optimistic:

Smartwatches continue to have excellent long-term prospects, as younger and older people will become more health-conscious in a post-virus world. Smartwatches can monitor vital health signs, such as oxygen levels, and consumers may find comfort in having a virtual health assistant strapped to their wrist,” added Woody Oh, Director at Strategy Analytics.

The stats don’t really tell us much we don’t know about smartwatches.

It’s curious that iOS only has 28.9% of the share of smartphones, but 55% of the smartwatch market. With the Apple Watch not able to run on Android smartphones, that’s a big gap.

That shows the demand is there, but the aren’t the devices to appeal to Android users.

The low uptake of Wear OS devices does leave the door open for the likes of Huawei, Amazfit, Xiaomi and Oppo to lay claim to being the “Android watch” of choice – but sales of these are largely limited to Asia.

Huawei is the biggest name, but its popular Huawei Watch GT 2e is suffering from being excluded from the US, where it’s expensive to buy from limited retailers.

In 2020 we expect to see a deluge of good, budget devices land – and that will really shake up the smartwatch market. Check out our guide to incoming smartwatches for 2020 to see what’s next.

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James Stables


James is the co-founder of Wareable, and he has been a technology journalist for 15 years.

He started his career at Future Publishing, James became the features editor of T3 Magazine and and was a regular contributor to TechRadar – before leaving Future Publishing to found Wareable in 2014.

James has been at the helm of Wareable since 2014 and has become one of the leading experts in wearable technologies globally. He has reviewed, tested, and covered pretty much every wearable on the market, and is passionate about the evolving industry, and wearables helping people achieve healthier and happier lives.

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