Although Apple continues to dominate the smartwatch market, its share in the global shipments of smartwatches went down to 30 percent in the third quarter of 2018, from 35 percent in the same quarter last year, according to a new report from Counterpoint Research.
Global smartwatch shipments grew 53 percent year-over-year in the third quarter of this year with strong performance from Fitbit, kids watch brands such as Imoo and start-ups such as Amazfit, showed the latest findings from Counterpoint's "Global Smartwatch Tracker".
Fitbit's share in the smartwatch shipments market went up to 16 percent in Q3 of this year, from six percent in the same quarter last year, registering a year-over-year growth of 348 per cent in terms of shipments, the report said.
"Fitbit continues to shift its focus from predominantly SmartBand/trackers to smartwatches and has now evolved as the next best player to Apple in terms of experience and scale," Counterpoint Research Analyst Satyajit Sinha said in a statement.
"The launch of the Versa smartwatch was the turning point for Fitbit's smartwatch segment growth. The health/fitness factor is playing a key role in driving consumer decision making for the adoption of smartwatches and Fitbit has entirely focused on this core use case," Sinha said.
When it comes to Apple, the introduction of the Series 4 this autumn was the biggest update from a design and features standpoint, the report said.
"Apple's Series 3 saw an uptick later in the quarter with discounted pricing, while Apple's Series 1 continued to be the single biggest selling SKU contributing to almost half of all Apple Watch shipments. This could change in holiday season quarter as our channel checks showed pent-up demand for the Series 4," Counterpoint Research Director, Jeff Fieldhack, noted.
The US consumers find the LTE communications capability in the Apple Watch the most desirable feature, the report said.
Cellular connectivity enables watches to work independently of smartphones - a capability that we believe will drive the market.
"By end of this year, cellular-capable watches will likely contribute to 20 percent of global smartwatch shipments. This will be a challenge for Fitbit to solve and range LTE SKUs (stock keeping units) in their portfolio," Sinha said.
"The children's or kids' smartwatch segment is growing rapidly, especially in Asia," Counterpoint's Senior Analyst, Hanish Bhatia, added.