INTRO: Global smartwatch shipments reportedly reached 14.3 million units in Q1 2020, up 12% year on year. According to data from Canalys, Apple continues to lead the market, but the company’s shipments fell 13% during the quarter. The report, however, predicts that lifetime Apple Watch shipments will reach 100 million units in the next three months. Either way, Huawei, Samsung, Garmin, and Fitbit rounded out the top-five, accounting for a lion’s share of the market.
The report suggests that China was the biggest growth engine during the quarter, with shipments increasing 66% year-on-year. LTE models from Xiaomi and Apple apparently did really well, thanks to a nationwide push towards eSIM adoption. Overall, 2.5 million cellular smartwatches were sold in the country during the quarter, said research analyst, Cynthia Chen. Meanwhile, this was also the first time that North America accounted for less than a third of global smartwatch shipments as Asian and Latin American markets showed strong growth, while demand in the US and Europe stagnated.
Overall, the report claims that despite COVID-19, the industry is in track to ship 150 million smartwatches in 2020. “We expect China will be the key smartwatch growth driver in 2020 as a result of its strongly recovering economy and a greater push from local players, including Huawei, Xiaomi and newcomer Oppo”, said Chen.
It’s interesting to see that smartwatches did so well even as smartphone sales came to a virtual halt during the pandemic. That said, the global lockdowns started going into effect only towards the very end of Q1. So maybe, the Q2 figures will better reflect the slowdown caused by COVID-19.