China smartwatch shipments down 9.3% YoY in 2022
China’s smartwatch shipments fell 9.3% YoY in 2022, mainly due to the COVID-zero policy’s impact on demand, according to Counterpoint Research’s latest Global Smartwatch Model Tracker. The year saw the country’s smartwatch market size shrinking to pre-COVID levels, with only Q1 2022 registering a quarterly YoY growth in shipments. The global smartwatch shipments grew 12% YoY during the same period.
Huawei and Apple dominated the China smartwatch market in 2022, with their combined share rising to almost 50%. Only OPPO (105% YoY), Apple (22% YoY) and Huawei (9% YoY) grew YoY among key brands.
Senior Analyst Shenghao Bai said, “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 46% YoY, while shipments in the >$401 segment grew a whopping 1292% YoY. The <$50 segment’s share dropped to 20%, with a 35% YoY decrease in shipments compared to the previous year.
Senior Analyst Ivan Lam said, “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.”
- Huawei enjoys a good reputation among Chinese consumers. Driven by price cuts, its Children Watch 4 Pro ranked first in the bestseller list for the market in 2022. The Watch 3 Pro and GT 3 (46mm) were the other two top-three models for Huawei. The brand benefited from its relatively more focus on HLOS smartwatches, with its HLOS smartwatch shipments doubling in 2022 to support Huawei’s 9% YoY growth in 2022.
- Good sales of Apple’s Watch Series 7 models, coupled with the newly released Watch Series 8 and Ultra models, helped Apple register 22% 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.
- BBK (imoo) recorded a double-digit shipment decline YoY. BBK relies more on offline channels, which were impacted by the strict COVID policy in 2022. Although the brand’s Q1A and Z6A models ranked second and third respectively in the China smartwatch market in 2022, its newly launched Z8 and D3 models failed to overtake previous annual sales leaders Z3 and Z5.
- Xiaomi’s smartwatches mainly belong to the <$200 segments. Its annual sales in the China market dropped 18% YoY in 2022 as demand shrank in the $100-$200 and <$50 segments.
OPPO saw a 105% YoY gain in 2022, mainly driven by its newly released Watch 3 Series. Its market share also increased to 3%.
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