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Apple, Huawei and Samsung retain their top rankings in the smartwatch market for 2020

The smarwatch market at the end of 2020 compared to 2019. (Source: Counterpoint Research)
The smarwatch market at the end of 2020 compared to 2019. (Source: Counterpoint Research)
The Apple Watch, Huawei Watch GT and Galaxy Watch lines helped their respective OEMs maintain their leading positions in the smartwatch space in 2020. This was a year in which the market showed relatively little growth, although its premium segment enjoyed a "significant" uptick.

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Counterpoint Research has now released its Global Smartwatch Shipments Tracker for 2020, which covers its final quarter (4Q2020) as well as this entire calendar year (CY2020). The group reports that this market's top 5 brands have not changed compared to 2019; however, the breakdown of the price-tiers offered by companies in the space has.

Counterpoint has concluded that there has been a "significant" shift towards buying smartwatches from higher brackets throughout 2020. Accordingly, 2019's most popular category (US$101-200) saw its share drop by 7% year-on-year (YoY), whereas that of $300 or more shot up by 8%.

This, then, has done Apple's share of the market no harm: it grew by an impressive 19% YoY to 33.9%. This suggest that its inaugural foray into the sub-premium space with the Watch SE has paid off, and, of course, that the main Watch Series 6 also did well.

Meanwhile, Huawei took the next rank down, posting progress of 26% YoY to an 11.1% overall share. This was mainly attributed to the latest generation of Watch GT, although Counterpoint noted that the Honor wearables also did their part. Then again, as the OEM now no longer owns that brand, 2021 may not go as well for it - unless the rumored new Nova line can help with that.

Samsung, meanwhile, saw a virtually flat 2020 in the smartwatch game, dropping to third place with a 9.1% share. Its 4Q2020 went slightly better, however, as it made a 1% gain compared to 4Q2019. This is most likely due to a boost in sales thanks to the high-end new Galaxy Watch3.

2020's smartwatch #4 brand was BBK Electronics, even though it posted a YoY loss in share of 9%. Moreover, it also held the same rank in 2019. This might be surprising, considering the presence of other brands such as Xiaomi or Huami Zepp Health in this space (although both were associated with "double digit growth" last year in any case).

Then again, BBK does of course incorporate a diverse range of products and brands, the Vivo Watch, Realme Watch and OPPO Watch included; therefore, it clearly had any amount of shipment stats to choose from.

Furthermore, the latest leaks suggest BBK's smartwatch fortunes may only get better in 2021, especially should the OPPO Watch RX, not to mention the OnePlus Watch, emerge as predicted. Fitbit rounded out the top 5 of individual brands in 2020, even though it also showed negative growth (-4% YoY) in 2020.

All in all, this market did grow in 2020, albeit by 1.5%, a number most likely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Counterpoint seems to find this figure underwhelming; however, it might be considered acceptable for an industry based on what are still essentially optional smartphone peripherals in an often economically constrained year.

On the other hand, smartwatches are increasingly popular as personal health companions, stepping up to increasingly powerful features such as blood oxygen and even blood pressure sensing in 2020. This might also help explain the trend towards higher average selling prices (ASPs); however, the sub-premium segment might catch up again over the next 3 or 4 years as these specs trickle down to their level.

The Galaxy Watch3 is down by ~US$150 on Amazon right now

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More stats from the latest smartwatch market research. (Source: Counterpoint Research)
More stats from the latest smartwatch market research. (Source: Counterpoint Research)
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Deirdre O'Donnell
Deirdre O'Donnell - Senior Tech Writer - 4233 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2018
I became a professional writer and editor shortly after graduation. My degrees are in biomedical sciences; however, they led to some experience in the biotech area, which convinced me of its potential to revolutionize our health, environment and lives in general. This developed into an all-consuming interest in more aspects of tech over time: I can never write enough on the latest electronics, gadgets and innovations. My other interests include imaging, astronomy, and streaming all the things. Oh, and coffee.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 03 > Apple, Huawei and Samsung retain their top rankings in the smartwatch market for 2020
Deirdre O'Donnell, 2021-03- 5 (Update: 2021-03- 5)