AirPods sales climbed during Q1 2020 but Apple Watch shipments declined1
Per analytics firm IDC's estimates, worldwide shipments of wearables grew 29.7 percent year over year to 72.6 million units during the first quarter of the year. The category includes earwear, watches, and wristbands.
IDC points out that the growth was disproportionate. While the sales of wristbands and hearables increased 16.2 percent and 68.3 percent year on year respectively, smart and basic watches saw a decline.
Hearables made up 54.9 percent of all sales, winning the lion's share of the market. The rise in demand can be chalked down to lockdowns around the world. As many people suddenly found themselves in a work from home situation, earphones that increase productivity by cutting down on background noises became a necessity for many.
The slump in the shipments of smart and basic watches can be attributed to supply-side shortages caused by the coronavirus. And while the report doesn't mention this, it could be that watch purchases were put on hold as people focused more on items that were absolutely necessary. In any case, the decline was just around 7 percent when compared to the year-ago quarter, and some companies like Huawei and Garmin actually managed to grow their shipments. And with people putting more emphasis on health then ever before, sales will probably recover before we know it.
Wearables sales Q1 2020
Apple shipped 21.2 million wearables during the first quarter of the year, a growth of around 60 percent when compared to the same time last year. This gave it a market share of 29.3 percent. Apple Watch Series shipments declined 2.2 percent during the time period, which means Beats and AirPods did the heavy lifting. The company is also expected to release over-ear headphones called AirPods Studio in the near future.
Xiaomi sold 10.1 million wearable devices during Q1 2020, grabbing a market share of 14 percent. It was followed by Samsung, which shipped 8.6 million earpieces and watches. The company grew more than any other firm in the wearables category and its earwear made up 74 percent of its total sales in the quarter, up from 58.9 percent during the same period last year. The success can largely be attributed to the new models of the Galaxy Buds and Buds+.
Samsung was closely trailed by Huawei which sold 8.1 million units of wearables during the January-March period. The beleaguered manufacturer didn't just do well in its home country of China, but also in other Asian countries, Europe, and Latin America. If you consider watch shipments alone, Huawei was the best performer during the quarter.
Fitbit was the only top player to lose market share during the quarter and seems to be succumbing to pressure from competitors.