There have been questions about how useful a smartwatch might be at a time when so many people are stuck at home, but the latest Strategy Analytics data saw smartwatch sales grow by 22% year-on-year during the first quarter of the year – when a number of countries had already implemented lockdown policies.

The Apple Watch beat the market, sales growing 23% in the same period …

Strategy Analytics reports that Apple slightly increased its market share from 54% to 55%.

Global smartwatch shipments grew 20 percent annually to reach 14 million units in the first quarter of 2020. Apple Watch maintained first position with 55 percent global smartwatch marketshare, while Samsung held second place, and Garmin rose to third.

Steven Waltzer, Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics, said, “Global smartwatch shipments grew 20 percent annually from 11.4 million units in Q1 2019 to 13.7 million in Q1 2020. Despite considerable headwinds from the Covid-19 scare, global demand for smartwatches continued to grow. Smartwatches are selling well through online retail channels” […]

Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “Apple Watch shipped 7.6 million units worldwide in Q1 2020, rising an above-average 23 percent from 6.2 million in Q1 2019. Apple’s global smartwatch marketshare has grown from 54 percent to 55 percent, its highest level for two years. Apple Watch continues to fend off strong competition from hungry rivals like Garmin and Samsung. Apple Watch owns half the worldwide smartwatch market and remains the clear industry leader.”

You’d think the Apple Watch would have less utility while many people are under lockdown, but it appears that the health and fitness monitoring capabilities have been enough to see the popularity of the device increase.

The firm does predict a dip this quarter, but things long-term prospects will be boosted by an increasing focus on health, expecting to see smartwatch sales grow further in Q3.

Woody Oh, Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “We expect global smartwatch shipments to slow sharply in the second quarter of 2020, due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Sales in Europe and the US have inevitably been hit by virus lockdown in recent months. However, the second half of this year and beyond will see a decent rebound, as consumers worldwide steadily regain confidence and more retail stores reopen. Smartwatches continue to have excellent long-term prospects, as younger and older people will become more health-conscious in a post-virus world. Smartwatches can monitor vital health signs, such as oxygen levels, and consumers may find comfort in having a virtual health assistant strapped to their wrist.”

Samsung’s market share slipped slightly.

Samsung shipped 1.9 million smartwatches worldwide in Q1 2020, inching up slightly from 1.7 million a year ago. Samsung’s global smartwatch marketshare has dipped from 15 percent to 14 percent during the past year. Samsung remains the world’s number two smartwatch vendor, but its growth was slowed by the coronavirus lockdown at home in South Korea and renewed competition from hungry competitors like Garmin

The Watch gains health functionality in watchOS 6.2.5, with the ability to automatically send key medical information to first responders.

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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