Report: Samsung Made Major Gains on Apple in Wearables Market

Posted on November 22, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Wearables, Apple Watch, Fitbit with 16 Comments

A new report from Counterpoint Research shows Apple ceding 10 percent of its market share in the wearables market to Samsung. I know, it sounds impossible. But Wear OS just saw its share rise dramatically for perhaps the first time ever.

“Samsung performed better than expected in the third quarter,” Counterpoint Research senior analyst Sujeong Lim said. “Galaxy Watch 4 series shipments were much higher than expected.” Samsung, notably, switched from Tizen to Google’s Wear OS for the Galaxy Watch 4.

According to Counterpoint’s numbers, Apple is still the number one wearable maker, with its WatchOS accounting for 22 percent of shipments in the third quarter of 2021. But Wear OS is gaining, with 17 percent of shipments in the same time period; a year ago, Wear OS only accounted for 3 percent of shipments. Amazfit OS, Fitbit OS (also owned by Google), and Lite OS make up most of the remaining non-negligible share.

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Comments (16)

16 responses to “Report: Samsung Made Major Gains on Apple in Wearables Market”

  1. helix2301

    Kind of suprised I really thought Fitbit had a bigger marketshare

    • scovious

      I wager Fitbit would have been more popular if syncing notifications always worked on mobile phones. Since it doesn't, the alternative options become very tempting.

      I recently switched to a Samsung watch mainly because it can send texts when away from the phone, unlike an Apple watch which can only send iMessage messages when it's away from the phone - which is pointless and exclusionary. I also like the new minimalist design of the Samsung Watch 4 and it's solid technical performance and battery life.

  2. pecosbob04

    I find this article confusing; the verbiage indicates  and Samsung combined account for 39% of shipments in Q3 '21 but the corresponding graph appears more like 60+ %. Also, too just eyeballing the two graphs it would appear that Huawei was the company giving up the most share y2y on a relative basis yet that isn't mentioned. To helix230's point where does Fitbit fall? I assume Amazfit?

    • Paul Thurrott

      Yeah, sorry. This is part Counterpoint's problem, but I didn't explain it well. It has data for both hardware makers and the OS platforms. It only provided hard data for the latter and just a graph for the former.

  3. nbplopes

    Although I just bought the Apple Watch series 7, sapphire glass et all, Samsung watch are more pleasant to my eye.

    The only thing that makes me stay in Apple is it’s robust and consistent functioning from the iMac down to the watch.

    Every time I try to get out of this circle I get somewhat bitten for reasons that even a tech guy as me gets puzzled. The latest was with Xbox. My kid, 11 years old, asked me to enable remote play. Sometimes it works other times it does not … requiring a reboot. Yes, I have higher end routers … and it’s connected through cable … go figure …

    • jboman32768

      I don't think the latest Galaxy watch works with the iPhone and I don't think the Apple watch works with Android - So they are not really competitors.

  4. sglewis

    I think something may be missing in the analysis. Apple Watch shipments trail off Q3... right. Of course they did. Series 7 was announced in Q3 but shipped in Q4. I would imagine that made a dent in sales towards the end of the quarter of Series 6.

  5. ronh

    I switched from Garmin to Galaxy Watch 4.

    Lots of faces to choose from..

    The 3 biggest differences are that it stays connected to my phone, music/podcast controls always work, and Google pay works with my bank (Garmin said coming soon for 2 years)

  6. jason_e

    Not for long. The Apple Watch series 7 just came out but has been very hard to get. Also it did not ship until Q4. Wait until after the holiday and I am sure the Apple Watch will jump quite a bit. Still the best watch by far.

  7. crunchyfrog

    Apple Watches are really great but Samsung is nipping at their heels. After moving back to Android and tried the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and also the TicWatch Pro Ultra.

    For the money, the Galaxy Watch simply cannot be beaten by any other WearOS watch out there. If anyone is serious about a new WearOS watch, I highly recommend the GW4.

  8. red.radar

    Not to take away from the fact Samsung made large gains, but marketshare percentages in this space are difficult to interpret. Only a few devices work with both iOS and Android smartphone platforms. So their is some islanding effects going on.

    Its worth noting that Apple still shipped a lot devices. So more iOS customers are further locking themselves into the ecosystem. Once you get an Apple Watch you will never switch to Android. Unless you want to throw you watch away. I am curious to the percentage of iPhone customers that have a watch. That number has to be pretty high.

  9. wright_is

    Given the proportional market size, it is always surprising that Apple does as well as it does. It has the most expensive watches, generally, and a small market share, compared to Android in general and a smaller market share, compared to Samsung explicitly.

    On the other hand, smartwatches, as opposed to fitness devices, are something that mainly owners of premium devices will buy and Samsung and Android cater for all pockets...

  10. djr1984

    I suspect Apple is also being punished for their lazy Apple Watch Series 7. No real new features so to speak of, just a slightly bigger screen.

    There's not been a real big change to the line since the Series 4 and generally that means that anyone owning a Series 4 - 6 have no reason to trade up.

    • rbgaynor

      Apple Watch Series 7 did not go on sale until the quarter AFTER this report, no punishment involved. Most (other) stories I've seen about this report have included this relevant nugget of information in their reporting.

  11. xamzara

    Apple Watch is an iPhone accessory.

    If Android users start buying watches for their Android phones then of course Apple will “lose” market share.

    But that tells nothing about the success of Apple Watch.

    Only the sales of Apple Watch tell that.