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Samsung grabs second place in Q1 smartwatch shipments

Barring a few big winners, the smartwatch market is as hugely fragmented as ever, according to new sales data from Counterpoint.

It’s pretty clear who the biggest winner is: Apple. The Apple Watch represented 35.8% of the total shipped smartwatches worldwide, up 0.3% on 2018 data. You shouldn’t rule out Samsung in second place though – even though the company only claimed 11.1% of the total shipments, it did see the biggest jump overall, rising from 7.2% this time last year. That was enough to see it leapfrog Chinese wearable company Imoo, which fell from 12.8% to 9.2%.

Samsung grew exponentially at 127% YoY as the Korean brand’s market share jumped to 11% in Q1 2019,” said Counterpoint senior analyst Sujeong Lim. “Its success was due to the latest Galaxy watch series which came with better battery life as well as a very traditional round clockface design.”

Related: Best smartwatches

But perhaps the biggest take home from this is just how fragmented the market remains seven years after Pebble fired the starting gun on the wearables race. While Samsung took second place as a single manufacturer, “others” claimed a far bigger share: 27.9%, which is quite something given each company involved must be lower than the 1.5% Garmin managed.

A graph from Counterpoint about smartwatch sales of different companies

Global Smartwatch Shipments market share by brand in Q1 2018 vs. Q1 2019

Speaking of Garmin, the running watch aficionados saw a small decline, falling from 1.9% of the market last year. Fossil and Amazfit saw similar dips, declining to 2.5% and 3.7% respectively. It was a slightly rosier picture for both Huawei and Fitbit, which saw solid increases to claim 2.8% and 5.5% of the market respectively.

Related: Best running watches

While innovation isn’t exactly prominent in the shipping data, Counterpoint associate director Brady Wang said that he expects it to have an impact in time. “Foldable displays are coming to smartwatches. Nubia’s attempt to design ‘smartphone + smartwatch’ adds smartphone level capability to the wrist form-factor. The UI of Nubia Alpha comes with features like gesture control, shortcuts with image capture, and moving through apps. This makes the smartwatch versatile and user-friendly.

“However, we are still in nascent stages in the evolution of smartwatch form-factors. These new form-factors will need to excel on various metrics. We estimate flexible smartwatches will hit mainstream post-2025.”

Can Samsung catch Apple in the smartwatch market? Let us know what you think on Twitter: @TrustedReviews.

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