Apple Watch Series 7, 8, and Ultra models power growth in China smartwatch market

China’s smartwatch shipments fell 8.8% YoY in 2022, mainly due to the COVID-zero policy’s impact on demand, according to Counterpoint Research’s latest Global Smartwatch Model Tracker. Huawei and Apple dominated the China smartwatch market in 2022, with their combined share rising to almost 50%. Only OPPO (105% YoY), Apple (4% YoY) and Huawei (9% YoY) grew YoY among key brands.

China smartwatch market share 2022 vs. 2021
Source: Counterpoint Research

Senior Analyst Shenghao Bai said in a statement, “China’s strict anti-COVID policies impacted consumer sentiment in 2022. Curbs on movement and remote education regulations further impacted the demand for kids’ smartwatches in the country, the world’s biggest kids’ smartwatch market, and their shipments fell 25% YoY. From key brands’ perspective, only Huawei, Apple and OPPO achieved YoY growth, driven by the success of their new launches.”

The biggest standout feature of the year was the high-to-premium segments’ (>$200) share rise. Shipments in the $301-$400 segment grew 31% YoY, while shipments in the ≥$401 segment grew a whopping 1138% YoY. The ≤$50 segment’s share dropped to 22%, with a 28% YoY decrease in shipments compared to the previous year.

Senior Analyst Ivan Lam said in a statement, “The demand for high-end and premium segments remained relatively strong in 2022, despite the decline in consumer sentiment and global macro headwinds. This shift to the high-end segment is similar to the shift witnessed in the smartphone market in 2022. High-end smartwatch consumers usually have higher demands for health detection, communication and system features. Such consumers are also more loyal to the brand. In recent years, Apple and Huawei’s marketing efforts have led high-end consumers to view their smartwatches as professional-grade devices with advanced sports and health monitoring capabilities. These watches are also appreciated for their sleek and stylish designs, making them suitable for everyday wear.”

Research Associate Alicia Gong added, “As Chinese consumers’ expectations for smartwatch features and experiences continue to rise, entry-level models’ (≤$50) share is falling gradually.”

Good sales of Apple’s Watch Series 7 models, coupled with the newly released Watch Series 8 and Ultra models, helped Apple register 4% YoY shipment growth in China. Continued innovation in health monitoring functions, as well as the perfect data and interaction experience, drove Apple’s growth. Meanwhile, the Ultra has created a new segment of professional smartwatches, which helped Apple dominate the premium segments.

MacDailyNews Note: Counterpoint expects China’s smartwatch market to rebound due to an active volume push by OEMs such as Huawei, Xiaomi, HONOR, and OPPO in China’s post-“Zero COVID” era in 2023. The market’s ASP (average selling price) is also expected to rise due to the continuous demand for more professional models spearheaded by Apple Watch Ultra.

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