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Google’s new smartwatch could take market share away from the Apple Watch

The news: Apple Watch shipments grew 6.6% year-over-year during Q1’22, catapulting Apple to nearly 31% of wearables market share, according to new data from the International Data Corporation (IDC).

How we got here: Apple’s rise in Watch shipments coincides with US consumers’ heightened interest in digitally tracking their health information.

40% of healthcare professionals “strongly agree” or “agree” their patients’ use of wearable devices has grown since the start of the pandemic, according to a SSCG MAP MD survey of 3,239 providers.

  • More consumers are likely opting for commercial smartwatches like Apple’s than medically prescribed ones.
  • Many (43%) of patients think commercial wearables (like the Apple Watch, Fitbit, and Oura) are easier to use than medically prescribed devices (9%), per a 2022 Software Advice survey.

Breaking down the data: Apple grew its lead as the top wearables shipper in Q1 while top competitors like Samsung shipped even less devices than the year before.

  • Apple shipped approximately 32 million wearables during Q1’22. That’s up from 30.1 million shipments in Q1’21.
  • Meanwhile, Samsung (the No. 2 wearables shipper) distributed 10.9 million wearables during Q1’22. That’s down from the 12.1 million wearables it shipped during the same period in 2021.

What’s next? Google didn’t make it to IDC’s list this year, but the company’s new Pixel Watch could eventually come for the Apple Watch.

Apple’s huge lead in market share will undoubtedly make it difficult for other smartwatch vendors to catch up this year. But if consumers get on board, Google’s newly debuted Pixel watch could be a game changer.

Unlike Fitbit, which is compatible with iPhones and Android smartphones, the Pixel Watch will be compatible with Android phones only.

  • Pixel Watch users will use Google-owned apps and services (like Google Maps) more frequently. This is a similar approach to Apple keeping users within its own ecosystem (e.g., Apple Maps is only available on Apple devices).
  • There are more Google-Android users than Apple iPhone users in the US. Google boasts 131.3 million US Android users, while Apple trails behind with 124.7 million US iOS users, per Insider Intelligence.