27% : WearOS Growth Figure Points To the End Game for smart watches – plus a new tech trend is highlighted

Image|Counterpoint

 

new WearOS Growth Figure Points To the End Game for Smartwatches

Market Research company, Counterpoint, recently published its latest report on the smartwatch industry with its market share information determined by ex-factory shipments (to retailers and distributors) and split between the two distinct geographical markets of China and Rest-of-the-World.

What Are The Trends?

High-level product shipments are expected to grow at 15% this year. A further trend is a switch towards these kinds of watches as products and technology underpinning their features become evermore capable.

The Chinese market appears solidly behind HarmonyOS, an operating system used by Huawei and some domestic players. Apple has a decent but slightly decreased market share whilst others experience a more rapid decline.

Outside of China, it’s a wholly different scenario with Apple’s watchOS dominating but now with Google’s Wear OS  in a decent position. Whilst the ‘others’ market declined slightly we saw only yesterday that such a change easily masks excellent performances by some companies, in yesterday’s case, it was Garmin with its latest quarterly numbers.

Garmin Growth Continues – Q1.2024 results show surge in EMEA and FITNESS

what is driving WearOS?

A couple of years ago Google got serious. Partnering with Samsung, the two tech behemoths finally put their weight behind WearOS seemingly forcing others out. Further evidence of that appeared only yesterday when we saw Fossil emptying the remnants of its foray into WearOS onto the market for bargain basement prices ($79!)

OnePlus, OPPO and Xiaomi contnue to push WearOS.

any New Tech Trends?

The report mentioned microLED screen tech becoming an important way to differentiate products in 2024. I’m not at all convinced that is correct. Whilst microLED might start to become more noticeable on new watches this year I don’t expect to see it sold in significant volumes this year.

Garmin Growth Continues – Q1.2024 results show surge in EMEA and FITNESS

However, dual-OS watches represent a potentially clever way in the future for the likes of Google to use a battery-friendly OS for basic, continuous screen functions (like displaying the time). Some companies have done this for a few years already.

Apple Watch microLED – battery savings examined

what’s The End Game

I’ve held the opinion for several years now that the end game for smart/sports watches is Google vs Apple with regional exceptions. I thought the only exception would be Chinese companies but probably it will be Indian companies too.

The end game for Garmin is as a niche sports expert. It will EVENTUALLY lose customers who do not need athletic-grade or explorer-grade devices. That’s a huge chunk of its existing customer base. Don’t worry, Garmin will be OK for a few more years yet 😉

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2 thoughts on “27% : WearOS Growth Figure Points To the End Game for smart watches – plus a new tech trend is highlighted

  1. It’ll be interesting to see how Garmin plan on managing the the threat from WearOS.

    I love my Fenix and wouldn’t trade it for an Apple Watch or any WearOS based device given how poor their fitness and navigation features are, but I am starting to become a little uncomfortable with the inability to receive calls or respond to WhatsApp and Insta messages whilst on a run without the phone.

    Garmin will have to address this at some point. Will they grow out the ConnectIQ API and hope the big developers come, or will they solve the problem quickly by moving to a dual GarminOS/WearOS platform and take on all of the hostile agreements with Google that’ll come from that?

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