IDC is reporting today that the market for wearable devices grew 14.1% during the second quarter of 2020 (2Q-20), thanks to strong demand for hearables and continued interest in tracking health metrics during these dire times. While the total market ballooned to 86.2 million units during the quarter, the growth was unevenly spread across the various form factors.
Hearables grew 32.6% and accounted for 60% of all wearables during the quarter. Apple led the charge here as it managed to ship 23.7 million AirPods and Beats products which was almost triple what second place Huawei shipped and 4.5 times what Samsung shipped.
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Wearables continues to be dominated by smartphone brands as the opportunity to bundle remains high while traditional headphone makers such as Sony, Bose, Jabra, and others rank lower but focus on the premium end of the market.
Earworn wearables continue to be popular as people work/learn from home and require hearables to maintain privacy while remaining connected with their various devices and services.
Watches and Wristbands represented 39.2% of all shipments, down from 46.8% in the second quarter of 2019. Combined, shipments for these devices declined 4.4% from last year and totaled 33.7 million units.
The top vendors – Apple, Huawei, and Xiaomi – gained share and dominance while many other vendors struggled to convince consumers that these devices were "must haves" during an economic downturn.
In our Q1 2020 wearable's report we noted that although Apple was the leader in wearables in calendar Q1 2020, IDC's wearables category mix is far too Broad. We have to repeat that sentiment once again. While AirPods Pro and Apple Watch-like products dominate IDC's wearable statistics, they muddy things up, especially in this latest report by actually counting COVID-19 wearables as standalone products.
Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC Mobile Device Trackers pointed out in his report that "Around the world, many organizations have also started to use wearables to help the fight against COVID-19. Not only are wearables being used to track symptoms, but also to warn wearers when social distance isn't being maintained."
This kind of product mix for statistics muddles things by taking away from the main items consumers are actually buying. We also don't know which, if any, smartphone brands are selling or giving these COVID-19 devices away. What's next, counting hats and helmets?
For now, even with these distracting wearables being added to the general category, Apple came out miles ahead of the competition.
During Apple's Financial Conference held at the end of July, this is what CEO Tim Cook said about wearables for calendar Q2 2020 / fiscal Q3 2020:
"Wearables growth decelerated as we expected, but still grew by strong double digits and set a revenue record for a non-holiday quarter. Building on powerful new features built into watchOS 7 and AirPods Pro announced this quarter, we are very excited about the many opportunities in front of us for this product category. These strong results help drive our installed base of active devices to new all-time records across each of our product categories."