Samsung entered the smartwatch market officially in September last year when it unveiled the Galaxy Gear in Berlin, Germany. It has since followed up that smartwatch with newer iterations like the Gear 2 smartwatches it announced and showcased at MWC early in the year. Thanks to that, Samsung’s dominance of the smartwatch market has risen very fast and the company together with Pebble now accounts for over 90% of all smartwatch units sold in the US alone.
A recent study by NPD quotes the Gears from Samsung as accounting for 78% of total revenue in the smartwatch market with startup Pebble coming a distant second at just 18% of the $96 million revenue during the tracking period from October 2013.
Why focus on the US specifically in this data? That’s the only market that has so far reflected strong interest in smartwatches. The US accounted for over 500,000 smartwatch units sold in the last 8 months out of a total of 3 million units sold globally. Things are likely to change as Google-backed Android Wear powered smartwatches like the LG’s G Watch and Motorola’s Moto 360 are expected in the market soon. However, much of Samsung’s success in this new market segment today is thanks to its aggressive marketing. The Gear smartwatches have been retailing at a costly $199 price with some discounts here and there and subsidies for those who buy them alongside some Samsung Galaxy smartphones like the Note 3 and the S5. To convince the masses to buy something new that they don’t necessarily need at such a price is something the likes of Sony who have been in the industry long before wearables became cool have failed to do.
Interest in smartwatches is still growing and more and more consumers will be interested in the device as it gets more functionality and becomes better at things like battery consumption. With more applications that do amazing things on smartwatches being developed, the smartwatch is no longer just an expensive smart timepiece with fitness tracking capabilities built-in but also on course to becoming a serious utility and a fashion statement.