Wearable Devices Market Share
Updated: 23 Jun 2020
Earwear and Wristbands Drive First Quarter Growth in the Worldwide Wearables Market, Says IDC
The global wearables market reached a new high of 84.5 million devices, up 94.6% from the prior year, during the third quarter of 2019 (3Q19) according to new data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker. The staggering growth in demand for hearables fueled by new products helped push the wearables market to a new record during the quarter. Hearables alone accounted for almost half the market, followed by wrist bands and smartwatches.
Fueled by new product launches such as the Fitbit Charge 4 as well as aggressive price points from mainstays like Xiaomi and Huawei, the wristband category grew 16.2% during the quarter. Meanwhile, hearables grew 68.3% and accounted for 54.9% of the entire market.
"The hearables category was seemingly resilient to the market-suppressing forces caused by COVID-19," said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC Mobile Device Trackers. "Consumers were clamouring for these sophisticated earpieces not only for the abilty to playback audio but also to help them increase productivity, as many of them were forced to work from home and sought ways to reduce surrounding noise while staying connected to their smartphones and smart assistants."
The spread of COVID-19 also had adverse effects on the supply of smart and basic watches as many of these devices share components and resources with smartphones and PCs, which were also impacted during the first quarter of 2020. Despite the decline, a few vendors, such as Huawei, Garmin, and Huami, managed healthy growth thanks to lesser reliance on markets in China and further expansion into the United States, Europe, and other parts of Asia.
"The downward pressure on watches shifts the onus to the latter half of 2020," said Ramon T. Llamas, research director for IDC's Wearables Team. "This gives companies the time to refine their products and messaging, and to align those with customer needs. Given the hyper focus on overall health and fitness in today's climate, vendors would do well to highlight those capabilities, and provide guidance on how to live healthier lives."
Earwear posted the highest year-over-year growth and amassed the most market share compared to all other wearable products, and while the 3Q19 results reached a new record quarter, it set up 4Q19 with a strong foundation from which to build. Apple was well ahead of the competition with over 22.7 million units (inclusive of Beats and AirPods). Following Apple was Samsung with 5.6M pairs of Galaxy Buds and other JBL Branded hearables. Sony, a more traditional headphone maker, ranked third with over 2M hearables shipped. The company's inclusion of active noise-cancelling in its premium lineup has helped set itself apart though with the release of the AirPods Pro and even Amazon's Echo Buds, Sony may soon lose this distinction.
Wristbands maintained their popularity within the market ahead of smartwatches and other wearable devices, driven by its straightforward value proposition and lowering price points. Added on top of this is the increased functionality that allow some wristbands to mimic the capabilities of their smartwatch cousins, keeping them relevant in the market.
Smartwatches tracked closely to, but finished slightly behind, wristbands during a quarter in which many companies relied on older models while customers eagerly awaited new models heading into 4Q19. Still, with significant markdowns available, price-sensitive customers took advantage of the lower prices for devices capable of many, if not most, of the features of its newer cousins. Apple once again maintained the lead followed by Samsung in second place. BBK, the maker of kids watches ranked third, shipping 1.8M smartwatches during the quarter. Rounding out the top 5 were Fitbit with 1.7M smartwatches, and Garmin with over 900K units.