Wearable Devices Market Share

Updated: 22 Mar 2022

Wearables Deliver Double-Digit Growth for Both Q4 and the Full Year 2021, According to IDC

NEEDHAM, Mass., March 9, 2022 – The worldwide wearables market hit a new record high in the fourth quarter of 2021 (4Q21) as shipments reached 171 million units, up 10.8% from the same quarter last year, according to new data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker. New products and continued demand for health and fitness tracking products along with hearables helped the market maintain its momentum. Shipments for the full year 2021 totaled 533.6 million units, an increase of 20.0% over 2020.

Hearables were once again the leading category as shipment volume grew 9.6% during the quarter and accounted for almost two-thirds of the entire wearables market. Meanwhile, watches continued to steal share from wristbands as the larger form factor offers consumers more features and customization. Lesser-known categories such as glasses (those without displays), rings, connected shoes, and others managed to grow 94.1% during the quarter largely due to products like the Oura Ring and Facebook/Ray-Ban Stories.

"While supply has been a constant battle for many companies during 2021, many of the issues began to subside during the quarter and allowed brands to ship record volumes while broadening their product lines," said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers. "However, the supply cruch also forced many companies to think about services and this is likely going to play a key role in the wearbles market moving forward as OEMs can experiment with their business models by subsidzing the hardware purchase though on-going services revenue."

"Although Apple remained far out front for the year, another telling sign of the market is the long list of vendors coming afterwards," notes Ramon T. Llamas, research director, Mobile Devices and AR/VR at IDC. "Samsung, Huawei, and Imagine Marketing all posted market-beating year-over-year growth, as did our collective ‘Others’ group. That shows demand is spreading out to other companies and products, all of which bring added diversity and price competition to attract and retain more customers. And because there is still strong demand from first-time users, vendors can court them with features similar to Apple's products but at much lower price points."

Top 5 Wearable Device Companies by Shipment Volume, Market Share, and Year-Over-Year Growth, Q4 2021 (shipments in millions)

Company 4Q21
Shipments
4Q21
Market Share
4Q20
Shipments
4Q20
Market Share
Year-Over-Year
Growth
1. Apple 59.7 34.9% 55.6 36.0% 7.3%
2. Xiaomi 14.6 8.6% 13.6 8.8% 7.9%
3. Samsung 13.6 7.9% 13.1 8.5% 3.8%
4. Huawei 11.5 6.7% 8.5 5.5% 35.6%
5. Imagine Marketing 9.2 5.4% 5.4 3.5% 69.6%
Others 62.5 36.6% 58.2 37.7% 7.4%
TOTAL 171.0 100.0% 154.3 100.0% 10.8%

3Q21 Company Highlights

Apple captured the top position in 3Q21 despite a 35.3% decline in Apple Watch shipments during the quarter. Hearables from AirPods and Beats have helped the company cement its leadership in the wearables market although these products have also faced challenges in recent quarters as competition in the hearables segment remains strong. That said, Apple's position is still enviable as the company grabbed over 53% of the dollar value share in this market.

Samsung's recent launch of the Galaxy Watch 4 Series has been well received and is a significant step forward for the watch maker and Google, thanks to the move from Tizen to Wear OS. Not only has Samsung focused on growing its wearables business by bundling its hearables, watches, and bands with smartphones, but the company is also attempting to steal wallet share from fashion spending with the launch of bespoke edition watches.

Xiaomi’s shipments fell 23.8% during the quarter as the company's reliance on wristbands and consumer preference for watches acted against it. The company has begun to transition from wristbands to watches and has also persisted in its expansion beyond China though these efforts are also heavily dependent on the success of its smartphone business in international markets. In hearables, the company has stayed true to its brand by offering extremely low cost but high value options.

Huawei managed to grow with the help of its hearables business as wristbands and watches combined declined 5% during the quarter. Hearables have been generally compatible across multiple brands and this open nature has helped Huawei achieve growth in an environment where it faces political headwinds.

Imagine Marketing, the Indian company behind the brand BoAt, once again found its way into the global top 5. Relentless marketing and low-cost products have helped drive volume. In recent quarters, the company has also launched watches, which now account for 10% of its shipments.

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