Apple Leads Wearables Q1 Growth, Shipping 21.2 Million Units: IDC

The wearables market saw a steady growth in the first quarter of 2020, with a 29.7 percent year-over-year increase, according to the latest research by International Data Corporation (IDC).

The period saw shipments of 72.6 million units, added the report. IDC, however, pointed out that the growth was “disproportionately spread across the various form factors.”

The research agency also includes fitness bands and wireless earbuds as wearables. IDC noted that the wristband segment registered a growth of 16.2 percent in the first quarter. The hearables space surged by 68.3 percent and accounted for over 50 percent of the total market.

“The hearables category was seemingly resilient to the market-suppressing forces caused by COVID-19,” said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC Mobile Device Trackers. “Consumers were clamouring for these sophisticated earpieces not only for the abilty to playback audio but also to help them increase productivity, as many of them were forced to work from home and sought ways to reduce surrounding noise while staying connected to their smartphones and smart assistants.”

The data suggests that Apple shipped 21.2 million wearables in Q1, giving it a 29 percent market share for the quarter.

“Apple was once again the top wearables company with a 29.3 percent share and 21.2 million units,” reads the data. “While Apple Watch shipments declined due to difficulties in the supply chain, the strength of the Beats and AirPods lineup was more than enough to offset the negative growth.”

Shipments of Watches (basic and smart) actually fell by 7.1 percent compared to the same period as last year. However, despite this, the strong performance of wristbands and headphones propelled the market to grow.

The demand for headphones was in part driven by consumers “clamoring” for better audio playback to increase lockdown productivity, with consumers valuing noise-canceling solutions to help reduce unwanted background noise. Apple’s Beats and AirPods lineup likewise helped propel Apple to growth, despite a drop in Apple Watch shipments caused by supply chain difficulties.