Apple ‘Overwhelming’ Dominates Worldwide Wearable Market: Clocks 36% YoY Growth

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Incorporating a combo of features, wearables have fast become one of the accessory faves for all generations alike.

Piloted by the increasing demand of consumers to monitor their own health, the use of wearable technology has only burgeoned in recent years.

Now, a report by IDC on global wearable devices has further attested to that trend. According to data gathered by the market intelligence provider, the global shipments of wearables reached a staggering 444.7 million units in 2020.


Registering a 27.2% YoY growth, the fourth quarter numbers added up to a slick 153.5 million units, accounting for nearly 35% of the yearly wearable shipments.

With the pandemic wreaking havoc, leaving people around the world confined, the demand for wearable devices received a big boost as a result in 2020. Health the buzzword, consumers look to have kept aside spending their disposable income on electronics and healthcare instead of the usual recreational larks.

Taking a closer look at the data, growth has not been level across the wearables sector. What with companies and products taking the hit due to the global semiconductor shortage, a notable casualty was wristbands.

Declined by 17.8% during the quarter, the wristbands accounted for a mere 11.5% of all wearable devices shipped.

Hearables galloped to become the largest category of wearable devices, taking a strong 64.2% share of shipments. This was followed by smart watches compiling a 24.1% share. Owing to their privacy-centric nature and a hugely competitive market replete with Apple’s AirPods to Amazon’s Echo buds, hearables were most suited to users’ needs the world across.


The global growth in wearable shipments has much to thank for in-home fitness programs, which became an overnight practice in these testing times.

Let’s take a look at each player’ highlights constituting the top slabs in the wearables shipment territory in Q4 2020, where the crown was once again for Apple’s taking.

  • Another year. Another top finish for Apple in the wearables market. Maintained its lofty standards, Apple shipped 55.6 million units of wearable devices during Q4 of 2020. Interestingly, it hung on to the same 36.2% share of the market it had last year. Apple’s shipments in the quarter rose 27% YoY.
  • Apple Smart Watch shipments bubbled by 45%, thanks to the option of providing a variety in prices for the Series 6, Watch SE, and Series 3 offerings.

In addition to the data by IDC, Apple Watch Series 5’s electrocardiogram (ECG) feature brought the company a lot of good spotlight in the sector. Saving the life of a 61-year old Indore resident, it gave a positive reinforcement of how joining the wearables bandwagon could pay invaluable dividends.

  • Pulling up in the runner–up’s spot was Xiaomi. Finishing the quarter with 13.5 million shipments, claiming 9% of the wearable market in the last quarter. The driving force behind Xiaomi was its hearables line, which grew upwards of 55% in Q4 of 2020. The Mi Band lineup, however, declined 18.3% due to understandable disruptions in the supply chain.
  • The third spot on the podium belonged to Samsung, who lodged 13 million shipments for Q4 of 2020, an upshot of 20% quarterly. That gave the company an 8.5 % share of the worldwide wearable market for the quarter. Samsung’s growth came courtesy of its hearables business too as it recorded 8.8 million shipments, while Samsung’s watch shipments trudged downwards to 2.9 million units.
  • Completing the top five bracket were Huawei and BoAt, which has India as its sole operating base. Huawei shipped 10.2 million units in total, while BoAt managed to sell off 5.4 million units for the Q4 of 2020. It should be noted that Huawei had to cope with US-imposed sanctions too, which may have impacted numbers for sure.

With a continued emphasis on providing a more wholesome experience with health at the forefront, wearables have some way to go. But with technology leaps and an assortment of offerings primed for the launch, they will continue to stitch evermore in our lives.

Stay tuned here for more updates.


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