Reviews - January 29, 2024

Fossil smartwatches accounted for only 2% of the market.

Fossil announced this month that it’s done with its smartwatches and that there will be no more Wear OS models. And according to new data, in fact Only For years, Fossil, which made its name on Wear OS, has struggled to make a real impact on the market.

Fossil said it would no longer make smartwatches, Wear OS, etc., calling this move “a strategic decision as the smartwatch landscape has evolved significantly.” And actually, things have changed a lot since Fossil started this whole project.

Fossil launched the first generation of Wear OS watches in 2015 with the Fossil Q Founder. At the time, the platform was still called ‘Android Wear’ and Fossil Group was just one of many brands trialling it. At the time, companies like Motorola, LG, Asus, and Huawei were all making smartwatches. But one by one, those names began to fall off the map, and on the other side, the Apple Watch was selling millions of dollars and really changing the smartwatch landscape.

For quite some time, Fossil has been the only “big” name in Android smartwatches. Mobvoi’s TicWatch brand offered good hardware at lower prices, but Fossil was a better known and trusted name and generally had a wider variety of designs. Moreover, given the sheer numbers, Fossil Group was chucking out a slew of smartwatches with brands like Skagen, Michael Kors, Kate Spade, and more.

However, this strategy does not appear to have had much effect.

According to Francisco Jeronimo IDC, Fossil sold approximately 19 million smartwatches from 2015 to 2023. That’s just 2.2% of the market over that period, and pales in comparison to the whopping 248 million Apple Watches sold in the same year. Clearly, Fossil’s peak was in 2017, when it had 6.7% of the market.

. @Fossil is shutting down smartwatches⌚️. The company has been struggling to gain relevant market share in a segment dominated by consumer electronics brands.

📢After launching in 2015, the highest market share in 2017 was 6.7%.

💰Total smartwatch sales…

— Francisco Geronimo (@fjeronimo) January 28, 2024

Why was Fossil struggling? Actually, there is no special reason.

The Fossil Group’s brands are best known for their traditional watches, and this likely played a role, but during the years when Fossil was particularly active, Google’s platform was also seriously neglected, hampering the functionality of Fossil releases. Qualcomm’s smartwatch-focused Snapdragon chips used by Fossil have also been severely underpowered until recently, making Fossil watches often feel much slower and slower than Android Wear and Wear OS options from other brands.

Nonetheless, Fossil is literally the main reason Wear OS still exists today. It’s a shame that Fossil Group’s many brands are being ignored, but this new data makes it understandable why the company is giving up.

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