Tech Trends

Hearables, Watches Drive Massive Growth in Wearables

Wearables saw substantial growth in the second quarter of 2021, up 32.3% year over year, despite an overall slowing of consumer spending on technology.

Lower price points were a significant contributing factor to the growth, according to a new report from market research firm IDC.

"As the market has matured, so have vendor product portfolios," said Ramon T. Llamas, research director for IDC's Wearables Team, in a prepared statement. "Offering a selection of good/better/best devices at staggered price points allows companies to approach more customers. Over time, features once reserved for only the high-end devices will eventually make their way down to the mid-tier and the mass market. This, in turn, will lure people to upgrade or purchase their first devices, thus placing wearables – both watches and hearables – on a steady treadmill of growth and upgrades."

A total of 114.2 million wearables shipped in the second quarter, compared with 86.3 million in the same period last year. Wrist bands remained flat, but hearables and watches grew by 39% (each) in the second quarter.

"Both the watch and hearables categories have seen a sharp rise in adoption due to new entrants as well as discounting on older models," said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers, in a prepared statement. "Watches priced between $200 and $300 have gained 10 percentage points since last year thanks to devices like the Watch SE, Series 3, Versa 3, and the Galaxy Watch Active 2. Meanwhile, hearables in the sub-$100 space have enjoyed a similar trend largely thanks to brands such as Xiaomi, BoAt, Huawei, JBL, and JLAB as they have succeeded at making premium features such as active noise control (ANC) more affordable."

Apple was once again the top wearables manufacturer, with 32.2 million shipments. Among the top 5 manufacturers, Apple showed the least amount of growth at 9.3%. Apple held the largest share of the market in Q2 2021, at 28.2%, but that was down from 34.1% in the same quarter last year.

Xiaomi, in second place, shipped 14 million units, up 37.8%.

Huawei was in third with 11.7 million units, up 38.5%.

Samsung, in fourth position, shipped 9.7 million units, up 37.4%.

Imagine Marketing, in fifth position, saw the greatest growth among the top-5 players. Imagine shipped 4.6 million units, up 478% over the same period last year.

All other manufacturers combined shipped 41.9 million wearables, up 38.2% over last year.

Further details can be found on IDC's site.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

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