In Q1 2023, there has been a shift in the global smartwatch market. Due to the global economic downturn, shipments saw a stagnation with a 8% year-on-year (YoY) decline in Q4 2022 and a 1.5% decrease in Q1 2023. According to Counterpoint, two major players, Apple and Samsung, saw their market shares fall – with Apple’s market share dropping from 32% in Q1 2022 to 26% in Q1 2023.
Indian market beats the trend
In the meantime, the market share for entry-level smartwatches rose sharply, particularly in India. An impressive increase from the previous year allowed the Indian company Fire-Boltt to tie Samsung’s 9% share of global market shipments. Overall, the Indian market grew by an astounding 121%, from 12% in Q1 2022 to 27% in Q1 2023.
Obviously, this market is less mature as compared to the US and Europe. Hence it has more room to grow. Coupled with an enormous population count, the figures should not really surprise.
Apple’s smartwatch shipment volume fell by 6%, to 20% year on year in Q1 2023. This is the first time in three years that it fell below 10 million units. Despite the release of the Apple Watch Series 8, it did not outperform the previous model. It will be interesting to see if Series 9 fares any better later this year.
Samsung saw a 15% increase in shipments in its key market of North America, but a decline in shipments in other major markets. This resulted in a 15% decrease in global shipment volume compared to the previous year.
Huawei, on the other hand, experienced a 14% YoY drop in the Chinese market. However, it increased shipments in India, LATAM, and MEA, limiting its overall global shipment decline to 9%.
It is important to note that there has been criticism about the way these market reports have been compiled, particularly the inclusion of low-end watches priced under $25 in the same category as high-end smartwatches. This has been seen as a way of artificially boosting the market share of certain regions, in this case, India.
A look at the leading players
Despite the challenging year, Apple Inc. remains the world’s largest technology company by revenue. As of March 2023, it is also the biggest company by market capitalisation. In August 2018, Apple became the first publicly traded U.S. company to be valued at over $1 trillion, and as of April 2023, it was valued at around $2.6 trillion.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
Fire-Boltt, also known as Boltt, is recognised as the fastest-growing smartwatch brand in India. Founded on January 2, 2020, and headquartered in the Asia-Pacific region. Fire-Boltt’s offerings extend beyond smartwatches and include Bluetooth earphones, headphones, true wireless earbuds, speakers, lifestyle shoes and more.
One unique element of the Fire-Boltt ecosystem is the Boltt Play App. This encompasses a rewards platform where users can earn coins through various activities, such as walking, watching videos, listening to music, and playing games. These coins can then be redeemed for branded products and experiences from an in-app shop.
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