Article From：SGB Media
Worldwide shipments of wearable devices reached 153.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2020, a year-over-year increase of 27.2 percent according to new data from the International Data Corporation (IDC). Shipments for the full year grew 28.4 percent to 444.7 million units.
While the holiday quarter was largely driven by new devices and lower prices, the broader trend for 2020 was the surge in consumer spending for electronics as disposable income was reallocated from leisure activities during the pandemic.
Worldwide shipments of wearable devices reached 153.5 million in Q4 2020, a year-over-year increase of 27.2 percent according to the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker.
“While the shift in spending along with new products and typical seasonality were at play during the fourth quarter, the pandemic has also been good for the market as it has put health and fitness at the forefront of many consumers’ minds,” said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC Mobile Device Trackers. “In-home fitness programs are quickly becoming a crucial component of the wearables offering for many companies. Beyond that, the proliferation of health sensors such as skin temperature, ECG, and heart rate tracking is allowing users and health professionals to better understand the onset and tracking of diseases.”
However, growth has not been even across the wearables market as some companies and products were affected by the global semiconductor shortage. Most notably, wristbands declined 17.8 percent during the quarter and accounted for just 11.5 percent of all wearable devices shipped. Hearables were the largest category of devices with a 64.2 percent share of shipments, followed by watches with a 24.1 percent share.
“2020 was the year that hearables became the must-have device,” said Ramon T. Llamas, research director for IDC’s Wearables team. “Hearables provided a new degree of privacy, particularly during home quarantine but also while out in public. Meeting that demand was a long list of vendors with an equally long list of devices, spanning the range of feature sets and price points. Underpinning the hearables market was a constantly shifting competitive landscape, with companies slowly gaining a foothold in the market (Amazon and its Echo Buds and Frames), vendors introducing new form factors (Apple and AirPods Max), and new features making their way down the price curve, including automatic noise canceling and voice assistant capability.”
4Q20 Company Highlights
Apple led the market once again with a 36.2 percent share of 4Q20 shipments. Its Watch shipments rose 45.6 percent thanks to the appeal of three models with different price points (Series 6, Watch SE, Series 3). Hearables shipments also surged during the quarter although year-over-year growth slowed to 22 percent, down from 28 percent and 29 percent in the previous two quarters. The slowing growth reflects the huge amount of adoption that the market has seen in recent quarters.
Xiaomi ended the quarter in the second position, growing 5 percent year-over-year; however, the company’s shipments of its Mi Band lineup declined 18.3 percent during the supply-challenged quarter. Driving overall growth was the expansion of the hearables line, which grew 55.5 percent since last year and is largely focused on China and the rest of Asia/Pacific. Looking ahead, the company is well-positioned to gain from Huawei’s declines as well as grow in EMEA thanks to its push in the smartphone industry.
Samsung held the third position with growth coming from its hearables business as the company shipped 8.8 million units across its various brands. Samsung’s low-cost wristbands also saw greater traction and were able to compete with the Chinese vendors in a few markets although the overall volume for these devices was relatively low at 1.3 million units. Overall watch shipments declined to 2.9 million in 4Q20.
Huawei fell to fourth place in 4Q20 and continued to struggle with the sanctions imposed by the U.S. government. While its shipments within China grew 9.4 percent year over year, shipments declined in previously strong markets such as Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan and China), the Middle East and Africa, and Western Europe. The company has slowly started to move away from wristbands and towards watches, as shown by the 18.2 percent growth in watch shipments and the 33.7 percent decline in wristbands. Watches also command a higher average selling price (ASP) and enabled the company to get closer to developers with its homegrown HarmonyOS, which is expected to tie in with smartwatches in the future.
BoAt rounded out the top five with 5.4 million units shipped in 4Q20. However, the company is solely operating in India and almost exclusively focuses on the hearables segment. As such, global expansion may prove challenging as the global wearables market remains dominated by multinational brands.