In the world of smartphones, Samsung and Apple dominate sales, with the pair being responsible for around 40 percent market share combined, according to recent figures. The huge popularity of these two tech giants spills over into the upcoming world of smartwatches, which while still in its infancy, is already falling under their control.
The rule is even greater, and both companies together have taken more than 66 percent of the global smartwatch market share over the past three months, according to data from analytical company Strategy Analytics. The roles are reversed though, with Apple coming out on top by quite a margin, shipping 2.2 million Apple Watch models for 52 percent of the market. Apple shipped more than three times as many smartwatches than Samsung, which only managed 600,000 during the same period, but that was still enough to capture 14 percent of the market.
At first glance, this is excellent news for both, but dig deeper and it’s not so great. The Apple Watch is more than a year old, and although Samsung’s Gear S2 is newer, it hasn’t been without its problems. These points are reflected when we compare how these figures have changed over the past six months or so.
Shipments, and consequently market share, have fallen substantially in this first period of 2016. Apple fell from 63 percent at the end of 2015, and Samsung from 16 percent, while both shipped more than double the amount of smartwatches. Early adopters have had their Christmas presents, and are now eagerly awaiting the Apple Watch 2 and the Gear S3. Neither Apple and Samsung are safe at the top of the charts either, with all the other smartwatch makers — from Sony to LG, and TAG Heuer to Fossil — have so far taken a combined 33 percent of the market this year, compared to 21 percent at the end of last.
Strategy Analytics notes that for the Apple Watch 2 to reverse Apple’s falling smartwatch fortunes — and all other new smartwatches, really — it’ll need better apps, usability, battery life, and 4G connectivity. We won’t find out if it does until later this year.