It's not just the Apple Watch powering the smartwatch market's growth

The field grew by nearly half in early 2019 thanks to Samsung and others.

The smartwatch market is still growing at a breakneck pace several years in. Counterpoint Research estimated that smartwatch shipments jumped by 48 percent year-over-year in the first quarter of 2019 -- no mean feat in a season that's typically quiet. The Apple Watch's leading share barely budged at 35.8 percent, although that came precisely because its shipments grew a sizeable 49 percent. The real stars of the show were some of Apple's rivals, though, as they enjoyed success they haven't had in a while.

Samsung's return to form with the Galaxy Watch paid off as its shipments climbed a whopping 127 percent, giving it 11.1 percent of the smartwatch space. Fitbit's revival continued with a surge to 5.5 percent of the field. And Huawei's clout in the smartphone world clearly rubbed off on the Watch GT, as its share grew from nearly nothing to 2.8 percent.

That's not to say that everything was rosy. Fossil, Garmin, Amazfit and Imoo all saw their share dip. Still, the data suggests that most larger smartwatch makers are on the right track. In addition to the usual refinements, perks like LTE data and the Apple Watch's ECG are helping these devices become genuinely useful tools for communication and health, not just nice-to-have luxuries.

Smartwatch market share Q1 2019