Apple continues to dominate the wearables industry with both AirPods and Apple Watch leading industry shipments in the fourth quarter of 2020. According to recent data from research firm IDC, the overall wearables market grew by over 27% in the last quarter as total shipments hit 153.5 million.
Apple’s wearables accounted for 36% of total industry shipments in Q4 2020. IDC estimates that the tech giant shipped 55.6 million wearable devices in Q4 2020, up from 43.7 million in Q4 2019 thanks to the appeal of three models with different price points: Apple Watch Series 3, Apple Watch Series 6, and Apple Watch SE.
Apple Watch and AirPods continue to dominate a lucrative market
According to IDC, Apple Watch shipments grew by 45.6%. Shipments growth for the hearables category – which includes the AirPods family – slowed down in the fourth quarter compared to the previous two. However, shipments were still up 22% from the fourth quarter of 2019.
Apple led the market once again with 36.2% share of 4Q20 shipments. Its Watch shipments rose 45.6% 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%, down from 28% and 29% in the previous two quarters. The slowing growth reflect the huge amount of adoption that the market has seen in recent quarters.
Research director for IDC’s Wearables Team Ramon T. Llamas says that 2020 was the year that hearables became the “must-have device,” even passing smartphones. With companies offering premium features like automatic noise canceling and voice assistant capabilities at mid-range prices, customers turned towards hearables that provided a new degree of privacy during the quarantine.
“2020 was the year that hearables became the must-have device. 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.”
The research manager for IDC Mobile Device Trackers, Jitesh Ubrani, says that the pandemic has put health and fitness at the forefront of many consumers which in turn, caused significant growth in the wearables business. Additionally, with companies like Apple introducing new health sensors that can monitor heart rate, skin temperature, and ECGs, customers can monitor their bodies more efficiently than ever before.
“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. 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 are allowing users and health professionals to better understand the onset and tracking of diseases.”
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