According to the latest data released by IDC, in the first quarter of 2021, Apple’s wearable device shipments continued to grow year-on-year, but the company’s overall market share was eroded by smaller competitors.
IDC data shows that in the first quarter of this year, 104.6 million wearable devices were shipped, an increase of 34.4% from 77.8 million in the same period last year. This is the first quarter that global wearable device shipments exceeded 100 million units for the first time.
Although market leaders like Apple and Samsung maintained their lead this quarter, most of the growth came from small companies like BoAt.
At the beginning of 2021, Apple is the same as at the end of 2020: As the clear leader in the global wearable device market, its smartwatch performance is still strong, and the lower-priced Apple Watch SE and Series 3 have gained further attraction in the market Power, and its headset products (including AirPods and Beats) experienced a continuous decline after reaching record levels in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Although Apple sold 5 million more wearable devices in the first quarter of 2021 and maintained its position as the market leader, its overall market share was taken away by competitors by 3.5%. The scale is very small.
In the first quarter, Samsung was ahead of Xiaomi for the first time and exceeded 1 million units. Promoting its sales rise is its true wireless headsets, including Galaxy Buds Live, Galaxy Buds+, and the recently added Galaxy Buds Pro. The company’s growth has also benefited from the mass market and low-priced headset shipments of its subsidiary JBL. At the same time, the company’s smart watches and bracelets maintained growth, reaching a new first quarter record.
Xiaomi is the only company in the top five that has experienced a year-on-year decline. Even though its earphones and watches had strong growth from a year ago, the sales of bracelets, which accounted for more than half of its total sales in the first quarter of 21, offset these increases. The challenge for Xiaomi is that only a small part of its total sales are sold outside of China, which further limits its growth opportunities.
Huawei is the only company whose shipments in the first quarter surpassed its shipments in the fourth quarter of 2020 and does not have any business in North America. On the contrary, Huawei mainly relies on the Chinese market, but the European market continues to improve while maintaining its presence in Asia and Latin America. The company’s diversified product portfolio, including watches, earphones and bracelets, have achieved strong performance, and the new glasses have taken a big step in China.
BoAt, headquartered in India, is far ahead of Fitbit and Huami, retaining its fifth place. Its average selling price of US$19 is the lowest among leading companies, and it has also been favored by many customers.
IDC wearable device data includes smart watches (such as Apple Watch) and headphones (such as AirPods). Apple did not provide specific details of Apple Watch and AirPods shipments, so IDC’s data is based on estimates.
In an earnings conference call earlier this year, Apple stated that wearable devices set a new revenue record in the first quarter of 2021, and that Apple’s wearable device business has now reached the scale of a Fortune 120 company.