Wear OS Share Surges on Samsung’s Highest Quarterly Smartwatch Shipments in Q3 2021

Global smartwatch shipments in the third quarter of this year increased 16% compared to the same period last year, continuing their double-digit growth following the previous quarter, according to Counterpoint Research’s recently published Global Smartwatch Model Tracker.

Thanks to the launch of the Galaxy Watch 4 series, Samsung achieved its highest quarterly shipments, narrowing the gap with Apple and reclaiming second place from Huawei. From this smartwatch series, Samsung has expanded its app ecosystem by using Android-based Wear OS instead of its Tizen. The brand has also broadened users’ range of choice by launching two models – basic and classic. The newly added body composition feature has also fetched a good response.

Apple still held the No. 1 spot in Q3 2021 but its share fell 10% YoY as its Watch Series 7 launch was delayed to the fourth quarter. Amazfit ranked third due to its growing popularity in Europe.

One of the highlights of this quarter was the rapid growth of Indian brands. Noise and boAt, which ranked first and second, respectively, in the Indian smartwatch market, shipped more than double the volume from the previous quarter.

Global Top 5 Smartwatch Shipments by OEM, Q3 2021 vs Q3 2020

Counterpoint Research Senior Analyst, Sujeong Lim said, “Samsung performed better than expected in the third quarter. Although the Galaxy Watch 4 series shipments were much higher than expected, more than 60% of the total shipments were sold in North America and Europe, where the share of mid-to-high price range models is high. To further increase its market share, Samsung is expected to launch affordable models within 2-3 years to target the fast-growing Asian market. One-third of smartwatches sold in Q3 2021 were priced under $100.”

In Q3 2021, there was also a significant change in OS market shares. Thanks to Samsung, which started using Wear OS with the Galaxy Watch 4, Google saw good growth in the wearable OS market. In terms of OS, the smartwatch market is fragmented as many OEMs still use proprietary OS or RTOS. But with third-party app support becoming important for users, the situation is expected to change steadily.

Smartwatch Shipment Share by OS, Q3 2018-Q3 2021

Counterpoint Research Global Smartwatch Market OS Share Q3 2021 1

Ms. Lim added, “Google has maintained a dominant share in the smartphone market with the Android OS, but so far has not achieved much in the wearable market. This is because Google controlled smartwatch OEMs from customizing the UI, and it was not chosen by them due to its lower power efficiency and slow response time.

However, the partnership with Samsung from this year has gained a foothold for Google to expand its presence in the wearable OS market and seems ready to transform into a more open wearable platform from this time forward.”

About Counterpoint Technology Market Research

Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.