The results are in, and a certain South Korean technology giant grabbed a major chunk of the smartwatch market in the first quarter of 2014.
Strategy Analytics has crunched the numbers and determined that Samsung sold about 500,000 of the 700,000 units that comprised the worldwide smartwatch market during the first quarter. That level of sales represented a 71 percent market share for Samsung, but there are a few important caveats.
Those numbers don’t take into account returns of the Galaxy Gear, which some news reports have put as high as 30 percent. Those numbers also only relate to the original Galaxy Gear, since Samsung’s other products like the Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo and Gear Fit didn’t launch until after the quarter ended.
According to the investment news site Seeking Alpha, Samsung and other vendors sold 3 million smartwatches worth more than $700 million in 2013 – a ten-fold increase over 300,000 unit sales in 2012. Samsung itself sold 1 million units in 2013, with a market share of 52 percent, showing how fast its smartwatch star has risen since then.
To emphasize – in the first quarter, Samsung already has sold half of the amount of smartwatches it sold in all of 2013. And the smartwatch market is only going to get more interesting from here.
Samsung’s commanding lead is liable to get even wider as it pushes its newer smartwatch products along with all the PR that the shiny new Galaxy S5 attracts. Laptop Mag editor Michael Prospero told CNBC Samsung’s Gear 2 is an improvement on the original, looking “a lot less tech-y” and coming in a variety of colors to increase its appeal. And that’s separate from the fact that almost everywhere you look, big tech companies are dangling announcements in front of the press and customers about smartwatches coming soon.
There’s a company you may have heard of in Cupertino, for example, that could be releasing its own smartwatch later this year (which many have dubbed the “iWatch”). Among other examples, Microsoft also is making moves to get into the smartwatch game. As Wearable World News already has reported, following rumors since last summer of a Surface smartwatch on the horizon, the U.S. Patent and Trademark office recently published a patent application for a smartwatch that Microsoft filed in October of 2012.
Pebble sold 400,000 watches in 2013 for around $60 million, according to Seeking Alpha. The company wants to grow that to 1 million units this year. Further underscoring the market’s potential, of course, was Intel’s acquisition of BASIS Science.
In addition to Samsung, meanwhile, the first quarter of this year also saw Sony and Pebble both with around 80,000 units sold (equating to a global market share of 11.4 percent for both companies).
Motorola and Qualcomm both sold about 10,000 units in the first quarter, with a 1.4 percent market share for each.