Apple had an unusually poor Q1 in the smartwatch market and Samsung lost its second place

4comments
Apple had an unusually poor Q1 in the smartwatch market and Samsung lost its second place
2023 didn't start on a high note for the global smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch markets, with the latter posting a much smaller year-on-year decline in Q1 shipments than the former two industries thanks to just one (big) country.

Smartwatch sales in India incredibly increased by no less than 121 percent in the January-March timeframe from the same period of 2022, propelling Fire-Boltt to the worldwide vendor podium. That's a regional brand specialized in ultra-low-cost wearable devices that's practically absent from all other markets, and yet somehow its global shipment figures are now higher than Samsung's, not to mention companies like Huawei, Garmin, Fitbit, or Fossil.

Fire-Boltt's success, as well as that of compatriots like Noise and boAt, was however not enough to completely offset Apple, Samsung, and Huawei's drops which ultimately led to a 1.5 percent dip in overall smartwatch demand compared to Q1 2022.

While it was unsurprisingly able to retain its dominant first position with relative ease, Apple saw its first-quarter sales fall under 10 million units for the first time in three years due to the Series 8 not rising to the company's initial level of expectations.


Despite earning solid reviews and a spot at the very top of our list of the best smartwatches money can buy in 2023, the Apple Watch Series 8 is evidently simply not as popular as its forerunners. Of course, the Cupertino-based tech giant also released two other smartwatches in the fall of 2022, which couldn't stop the company's decline from a 32 percent market share at the beginning of last year to a comparatively much smaller 26 percent slice of the pie now.

In third place, Samsung dropped from 10 to 9 percent share, which may not sound as dramatic but actually reflects a slightly larger 21 percent decline in shipments than Apple's 20 percent dip. Interestingly, Galaxy Watches grew in popularity in North America between January and March 2023 while falling in "other major markets", which might be a direct result of the company's pricing strategy.

It's pretty clear that "basic" smartwatches with limited capabilities and ultra-low price points are preferred by the vast majority of buyers in India, China, and other countries outside North America, essentially rendering smartbands and fitness trackers irrelevant and making it quite difficult for vendors like Apple and Samsung to boost their shipment volumes going forward.

Recommended Stories

Loading Comments...
FCC OKs Cingular\'s purchase of AT&T Wireless