The Smartwatch Market Braces for Disruption in 2024

While Apple has reigned supreme in the smartwatch arena thus far, analysts forecast significant disruptions could be on the horizon in 2024. According to the latest projections from market research firm Counterpoint Research, Google's Wear OS and Huawei's HarmonyOS platforms are poised to make considerable inroads over the next year.

Counterpoint estimates that Wear OS will capture 27% market share of advanced smartwatches outside of China by 2024. This surge can be attributed to major Android smartphone brands like Samsung, Google, OnePlus, OPPO, and Xiaomi launching new premium Wear OS-powered smartwatch models. These devices aim to provide a cohesive experience integrating Google AI assistant, health tracking, customization, and optimized battery performance.

"There is an emerging trend where first-time smartwatch buyers or those upgrading from basic models are prioritizing an enhanced user experience," said Counterpoint analyst Anshika Jain. "They are willing to spend more for advanced capabilities that Wear OS can deliver."

In China specifically, Huawei's HarmonyOS is projected to claim an impressive 61% share of the high-end smartwatch market by end of 2024. This growth directly correlates with Huawei's increasing 5G smartphone sales, which has expanded the potential customer base for its smartwatch ecosystem.

"The launch of 5G smartphones by Huawei last year acted as a catalyst, driving higher attach rates for Huawei's HarmonyOS smartwatches," explained Counterpoint's Ethan Qi.

Beyond the operating system battleground, the report identifies several other key trends shaping the future smartwatch landscape. Chipmakers like Qualcomm and Hengxuan are projected for strong growth as manufacturers explore multi-chip architectures combining application processors with low-power co-processors.

Additionally, display technology is becoming a key differentiator, with larger OLED and microLED panels with improved power efficiency entering the market. "We forecast a 16-18% year-over-year increase in display panel orders for advanced smartwatches during 2024," stated David Naranjo from DSCC.

As smartphone brands increasingly look to provide a compelling end-to-end ecosystem, the smartwatch segment is emerging as the next critical battleground. While Apple currently maintains a leadership position, the smartwatch market appears primed for disruption from aggressive players like Google and Huawei over the coming years.

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