Free smartwatch on woman's wrist image, public domain CC0 photo.

The Indian market has grown to be the biggest smartwatch market in the world, as per a recent report by Counterpoint Research, while Apple continues to lead the segment with a healthy annual increase.

In its Global Smartwatch Model Tracker for the third quarter of the year, Counterpoint Research revealed that the global market for the shipment of smartphones clocked a year-on-year (YoY) increase of 30% for the period, despite adverse factors such as rising rates of inflation and other macroeconomic conditions.

The report divided the smartwatch market into HLOS (high-level OS, those that run a high-end operating system and cost more), and basic smartwatches (which come with relatively lighter versions of OS and are more pocket-friendly). As per the report, the shipments of HLOS smartwatches rose by 23% YoY in the third quarter of the year. The total shipment of basic smartwatches, on the other hand, more than doubled for the third quarter and went on to account for 35% of the total global smartphone market.

“This remarkable increase in basic smartwatch shipments shows us that the market base is rapidly expanding toward more accessible segments amid aggressive drives by the supply side. But still, in terms of revenue, the HLOS smartwatch overwhelms the basic smartwatch with a market size of almost 10 times due to its high average selling price (ASP),” said Woojin Son, Research Analyst.

And riding on the back of strong festive sales, the Indian market clocked an astounding annual growth of 171% to become the biggest smartwatch market in the world, thus ending the long run of the North American market at the top. Apart from the Chinese and European markets, other markets clocked annual growth as well.

According to Anshika Jain, Senior Analyst, this growth can be attributed to the adoption of features such as Bluetooth-calling (which contributed a 58% share in total shipments), and consumer preference for bigger display sizes. The expansion of the product portfolios of Indian brands at pocket-friendly price points and focus on homegrown manufacturing turned out to be another major factor.

Looking over the performance of smartphone manufacturers, it is observed that Apple clocked an annual growth of 48% as it rode on the back of the Apple Watch 8 series – which accounted for about 56% of the overall shipments. The Cupertino-headquartered tech giant also made up about 50% of the HLOS smartphone segment in the third quarter. South Korea’s Samsung comes second with a quarterly increase of 62% and annual growth of 6% in its shipments, while its share in the market fell.

Noise, which regained the top spot in the Indian market with an annual growth of 218%, comes in the third place. It is followed by Fire-Boltt, which failed to clock a strong annual growth and maintained a flat market share. Chinese tech player Huawei completes the top five with an annual growth of 65% in its shipments, but it failed to record any shipments in India for the first time since 2018.