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Strong Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 shipments propel Google Wear OS market share

Apple has had an unchallenged run in the smartwatches segment so far, with the tech giant dominating the market for a very long time. Even Samsung, which has been Apple’s traditional rival in the smartphones space, couldn’t make a dent in the popularity of the Apple Watch lineup or the WatchOS platform. That might no longer be the case.

A recent report by Counterpoint Research indicates that Samsung — riding high on the popularity of the Galaxy Watch 4 series — has managed to increase its market share significantly in the third quarter of 2021, mainly at the expense of Apple. The massive popularity of the Galaxy Watch 4 series has also led to the highest jump in market share Google’s Wear OS platform has ever experienced in its nearly eight-year existence.

As things stand now, Samsung finds itself nipping at the heels of Apple in terms of smartwatch market share, with the latter’s once-dominant position now under serious threat.

Graph showing the global market share of Smartwatch operating systems.
Google’s Wear OS market share jumped from just 3% in the second quarter of 2021 to a staggering 17% in the third quarter of the same year — all thanks to the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 series. Counterpoint Research

While Counterpoint stopped short of revealing the actual market share of Samsung, Apple, and other smartwatch vendors, it did indicate that Apple lost a staggering 10% market share in a single year. The impact of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 was such that Google’s Wear OS, which had a measly 3% market share in late 2020, now finds itself in a reasonably comfortable position with 17% of the market. Apple maintains a slender lead and currently has 22% of the global smartwatches space.

Before we completely dismiss Apple, it is important to note that this data is from the third quarter of 2021, right before the company launched the Apple Watch Series 7 lineup. Chances are high that we could see Apple claw back strongly once we have data for the last quarter of 2021. Nevertheless, Samsung’s decision to switch over its new Galaxy Watch from its proprietary Tizen OS to Wear OS couldn’t have come at a better time for Google, though it remains to be seen if it can be maintained long term.

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