Smartwatch shipments saw 12% year-on-year grown in the first quarter of 2020 let by devices manufactured by Huawei, Samsung and Garmin.
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According to a report from Canalys today, the healthy increase was achieved despite challenging economic conditions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Shipments totaled 14.3 million units between January and the end of March. Its questionable whether wearables will be able to put in such a good performance in Q2 considering this is when North America and Europe were particularly hard hit by the coronavirus.
Around a third shipments in Q1 were Apple Watches, a significant fall from the company’s 47% share during the same period in 2019. And while Apple’s 13% decline in shipments is not good news for the company, Fitbit saw an even bigger 21% fall. They will be looking for a reverse of fortunes once the Google deal goes through. To remind, the search giant has acquired Fitbit for a cool $2.1 billion. Pending regulatory approval the deal is expected to go through in the months ahead.
Huawei, Samsung and Garmin all saw healthy increases. The first of these included its smartwatch with purchases of its latest P40 flagship smartphone which would have helped propel it ahead of Samsung to 2nd place on the vendor rankings.
Interestingly, WearOS is nowhere to be found. It is in the “Others” category but there are no specifics that quantify this part of the market.
Canalys says this is the first time North America accounted for less than a third of global smartwatch shipments. But strong demand in Asia helped offset the lackluster demand in other markets. This was partly due to large LTE watch orders ahead of the Chinese New Year as part of the move toward nationwide eSIM coverage.
The region is expected to be a major catalyst for smartwatch growth in 2020 and beyond as economic recovery takes hold. This will also be helped by the proliferation of domestic players. Xiaomi recently came out with its first smartwatch, as did Oppo and Redmi.
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