Despite the decline that the tech market still continues to feel amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the world of smartwatches and earbuds seems unscathed with a year-over-year (YoY) increase.
According to the latest report from IDC, the wearables market saw a positive move with Apple still reigning as the dominant name. Led by a pair of top-selling products, the Apple Watch and the Airpods, the firm delivered 55.6 million devices during Q4 2020. This accounted for a 36.2% market share and a 27.2% increase in shipments year-over-year.
The market last year proved to be quite competitive with Apple having exactly the same market share as it was during the same quarter in 2019. The upturn last year was attributed to the release of the Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE that offered different price points.
Surprisingly, Xiaomi had a decent year despite a Q4 decline of 18.3% as it took second place. This is thanks to the Xiaomi Mi Band fitness tracker and its new earbuds line that saw the firm deliver 55.5% more product on an annual basis.
Xiaomi shipped 13.5 million wearable units during the last quarter of 2020 for an 8.8% market share. This placed the Chinese company slightly above Samsung that shipped 13 million products accounting for a 20.5% year-over-year increase. However, this did not save the company from a market share decline from 9% to 8.5%.
Huawei fell to fourth place in Q4 2020 and continued to struggle with the sanctions imposed by the U.S. government. While its shipments within China grew 9.4% 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.
Generally, the market saw a total of 153.5 million wearable devices shipped during Q4 2020. This accounted for a 27.2% YoY increase from the 120.7 million devices delivered during the same quarter in 2019.
“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 cancelling and voice assistant capability.”