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Publication date: 20 Mar 2024

Global Shipments of Wearable Devices Saw Modest Growth in 2023 with Improved Demand Expected in 2024 and Beyond, According to IDC


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NEEDHAM, Mass., March 20, 2024 – New data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker shows that the wearable devices market declined 0.9% year over year in the fourth quarter of 2023 (4Q23). Despite improved economic conditions, mature markets such as United States, Western Europe, and Japan recorded declines in 4Q23 due to muted demand, tough comparisons against last year, and inventory hangover from prior quarters. However, shipments grew 1.7% in Asia/Pacific and in China largely due to strong interest in emerging markets.

"The high-water mark for wearables came in 2020 and 2021 with volumes reaching record levels. The next two years saw the aftermath of that success as demand began to wane and shipments steadily declined," said Ramon T. Llamas, research director with IDC's Wearables team. "2024 will be the start of the rebound as users will look for replacements and new models from key vendors launch during the second half of this year. This will carry into 2025 and beyond."

While the market declined slightly in 4Q23, global shipments of wearable devices managed to grow 1.7% for the full year 2023. Among the various device types, hearables declined 0.8% year over year for the full year while capturing 61.3% of the overall wearables market. The slow pace of innovation and fast pace of adoption has quickly led to the category relying more on replacements rather than new buyers. Meanwhile, smartwatches continued their growth trajectory as shipments increased 8.7% during the year as India and China led the market both in terms of vendors and consumption. Rings, such as those from Oura and Ultrahuman, showed promise with the category growing 34.9% during the year while glasses without a display grew 128.2% due to the launch of new products from Amazon and Meta.

"Rings have caught the attention of consumers as new brands begin to gear up their launch plans," said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager, Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers at IDC. "By providing a discreet form factor and multi-day battery life, rings avoid some of the key shortcomings of smartwatches and hence appeal to a broader audience. However, the form factor has long relied on a subscription-based business model, which is expected to subside in the short term as competition heats up."

With the global economy on a path to recovery, wearables are poised for additional growth in 2024 as device shipments are forecast reach 559.7 million units, up 10.5% over 2023. From there, IDC expects the market will grow to 645.7 million units by the end of 2028 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.6%.

About IDC Trackers

IDC Tracker products provide accurate and timely market size, vendor share, and forecasts for hundreds of technology markets from more than 100 countries around the globe. Using proprietary tools and research processes, IDC's Trackers are updated on a semiannual, quarterly, and monthly basis. Tracker results are delivered to clients in user-friendly Excel deliverables and on-line query tools.

For more information about IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, please contact Jackie Kliem at 508-988-7984 or

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About IDC

International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. With more than 1,300 analysts worldwide, IDC offers global, regional, and local expertise on technology, IT benchmarking and sourcing, and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. IDC's analysis and insight helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based technology decisions and to achieve their key business objectives. Founded in 1964, IDC is a wholly owned subsidiary of International Data Group (IDG), the world's leading tech media, data, and marketing services company. To learn more about IDC, please visit Follow IDC on Twitter at @IDC and LinkedIn. Subscribe to the IDC Blog for industry news and insights.

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