India overtook North America to take the global top spot in the smartwatch market in the quarter ending in September, according to a report by market researcher Counterpoint. Festival sales and the proliferation of affordable smartwatches helped grow the local market by 171% year-over-year.
Affordable smartwatch models with larger screens and adding features like Bluetooth calling were key selling factors in India during festival sales, Hong Kong-headquartered Counterpoint said.
“Indian brands expanding their product portfolios at affordable prices and a focus on local manufacturing also contributed to the growth,” Counterpoint analyst Anshika Jain said in a statement.
“Bluetooth calling emerged as an important feature, contributing to a 58% share of total shipments, the highest share ever recorded. Consumers also prefer larger screen sizes, which is evident that more than half of the total shipments in the third quarter came from the 1.5″ to 1.69″ screen size.
North America, which was the top market from Q4 2020 to Q2 2022, grew 21% year-over-year while China and Europe saw negative growth.
India’s growth means the country’s top brand, Noise, moved up to third place overall in shipments – thanks to 218% year-on-year growth – trailing Apple and Samsung .
The smartwatch maker told TechCrunch it aims to increase its local production from 50% to 80% by the end of the year. Local rival Fire-Boltt, which was only a percentage behind Noise in terms of market share, took fourth place in the global rankings.
Apple grew 48% on exceptional sales of the new Apple Watch Series 8, which accounted for 56% of overall sales. Samsung grew 6% year-on-year despite a 62% increase in shipments from the prior quarter.
The Counterpoint report separates smartwatches into two categories: high-level operating system (HLOS) smartwatches, which include devices from companies like Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Garmin, and Amazfit; and what it calls “basic” smartwatches with a lighter, more affordable operating system. Noise, Fire-Bollt and BoAT operate in the latter category.
The research studio said the HLOS segment grew by 23%, while basic smartwatches more than doubled, earning it 35% market share. Apple currently dominates the HLOS market with around 50% market share, while Samsung is in second place.
“This remarkable increase in core smartwatch shipments shows us that the market base is rapidly expanding into more accessible segments amid aggressive supply-side efforts. But even so, in terms of revenue, the HLOS smartwatch exceeds the basic smartwatch with a market size of almost 10 times due to its high average selling price (ASP), ”said research analyst Woojin Son in a statement.
Earlier this month, analyst firm IDC released a report on India’s wearables market, noting that the smartwatch segment grew by 178% with over 12 million units shipped in the quarter. ending in September. The report says that this growth could also be attributed to the decline in smartwatch prices in the region, with the average selling price (ASP) dropping from $60 to $41.9 in one year. IDC says the ASP of basic smartwatches is $27.5 compared to the ASP of $330 of advanced smartwatches. This is an indicator that Indian consumers are likely to opt for cheaper alternatives to Apple Watch or Samsung Galaxy Watch.
All India-based smartwatch makers have pledged to rapidly ramp up their local manufacturing output in the coming months to increase the production rate. This could help them further lower device prices and increase shipments to catch up with Samsung and Apple in unit shipments.
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