Apple WatchOS Dominates Smartwatch OS Market Share While Tizen Edges Out Android Wear

More often than not, when someone goes out shopping for a smartwatch, they end up purchasing an Apple Watch. That leaves second place up for grabs between Tizen and Android Wear, and for the first time ever the former overtook the latter in market share. According to data collected by Strategy Analytics, Tizen jumped ahead of Android Wear in the first quarter of 2017 to grab a 19 percent share of the smartwatch OS market, edging out Android Wear at 18 percent.

Those figures give Samsung reason to feel vindicated in its decision to move away from Android Wear and go all-in with Tizen in the wearables market. That may not have seemed like a smart decision two years ago when Tizen's share of the wearable OS market was just 6.7 percent, but Samsung held firm and is now being rewarded with the second largest stake, behind watchOS.

Apple Watch

Therein lies the real behemoth. Even if including fitness bands, Apple is still the dominant force in the wearables market, having overtook FitBit in the first quarter, which fell 36 percent year-over-year from 4.5 million wearable shipments in Q1 2016 to 2.9 million in Q1 2017.

"Fitbit has lost its wearables leadership to Apple, due to slowing demand for its fitnessbands and a late entry to the emerging smartwatch market. Fitbit’s shipments, revenue, pricing, and profit are all shrinking at the moment and the company has a major fight on its hands to recover this year," said Cliff Raskind, Director at Strategy Analytics.

IDC's figures shine an even brighter light on watchOS. The market research firm says Apple lead the market in the Q1 2017 with a 57 percent share. However, Apple can ill-afford to fall asleep at the wheel.

"Apple finished 2016 in the same way that it finished 2015: as the undisputed leader in the worldwide smartwatch market," points out Ramon T. Llamas, research manager with IDC's Wearables program. "Yet even for its brand strength and customer loyalty, its year-over-year decrease and its small volumes compared with its other device categories underscore that it is still very much a work in progress. To this end, constant refinement of the Watch and its services are warranted."

Overall the smartwatch market is still relatively small. For that to change, Apple and others need to continue making refinements and improvement battery life. Lowering the cost of admission would also help spur mass adoption.