The Pixel Watch rises as Fitbit falls in a tough wearable market

Google Pixel Watch with Lemongrass Google Pixel Watch Active Band on top of a laptop
(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Canalys reports the wearable band market saw an 18% decline in shipments.
  • Google's rise to second place for Q4 is attributed to its Pixel Watch launch with 880,000 units shipped during the final quarter.
  • Samsung has to grapple with a sharp 35% decline in wearable band shipments.

Google sees a rise in positioning while Samsung sharply falls through the market ranks in the latest shipment report.

Known for its industry analyses, Canalys has posted its most recent estimate on the wearable band market and its sour Q4 2022 performance. According to Canalys' findings, wearable band shipments dropped by 18% in Q4 which is seasonally uncharacteristic despite 50 million shipped units. Smartwatches also saw a double-digit drop, around 17%, during the same final quarter.

For wearable bands, Google was able to rise to second place (just behind Apple), which is thanks to its 16% growth in the market during Q4 due to the launch of the Pixel Watch. However, things for the company did slide off quite a bit as it saw a 25% decline in annual growth due to slowed Fitbit shipments.

Google also only shipped 4 million units in Q4 as opposed to the same time in 2021 when it shipped 5.3 wearable band units. This also sees a slight decrease in market share, coming in at a solid 8%.

Canalys reports that Samsung didn't fair too well either, dropping down to 5th best after suffering a sharp 35% decline in shipments in Q4. It's been assumed that the dwindling Wear OS migration, alongside the "iterative update" of the Galaxy Watch 5 series contributed to this drop for the Korean OEM. In Q4, Samsung only shipped 2.9 million units, contributing 5.9% of the market share as opposed to its 4.5 million units shipped and 7.4% market share in Q4 2021. Still, Samsung managed a fairly strong showing throughout 2022.

However, the analysis company attributes the overall wearable band market misfortune to the "challenging macroeconomic environment" of Q4 2022, similar to its estimates of the smartphone market in Q4 2022.

Looking at wearable band shipments overall for 2022, Google is estimated to have shipped 880,000 Pixel Watch units but still delivered a distasteful 22% decline after last year. Samsung may have grown in smartwatch shipments throughout the year but, in terms of wearable band shipments, the company is faced with a 4% decline when compared to 2021.

There may be some light for the wearable band market in 2023, and Canalys Analyst Cynthia Chen suspects that "the wearable band market is expected to grow at a modest 2% in 2023. While we expect basic bands to continue declining, basic watches and smartwatches will grow, but growth will be capped below 10%. Vendors remain vigilant and will emphasize quality rather than quantity given some recovery in consumer spending."

Nickolas Diaz
News Writer

Nickolas is always excited about tech and getting his hands on it. Writing for him can vary from delivering the latest tech story to scribbling in his journal. When Nickolas isn't hitting a story, he's often grinding away at a game or chilling with a book in his hand.