According to International Data Corporation (IDC), the global wearables market experienced its first-ever decline in the first quarter of 2022 (Q1 2022), with unit shipments totaling 105.3 million units, down 3% year-on-year (YoY). According to the research firm, demand is cooling as consumers begin to spend more in categories other than wearables. Please keep in mind that the wearables market as a whole includes hearables, wristbands, and smartwatches.
Wristbands experienced a 40.5% decline due to supply shortages and weaker demand, crippled growth, and hearables also experienced a slight decline, with growth down only 0.6%. On the plus side, watches increased 9.1% during the period, accounting for 28% of the total market.
In Q1, 2022, Apple led the wearables market with a 6% YoY growth rate and a 32.1% market share. The performance of Apple Watches was a major reason for the growth, with the Apple Watch SE showing surprising resilience (over 2 million shipped) while AirPods had a flat quarter. Secondly, despite a 9.9% YoY decline, Samsung maintained its position due to the company’s strategy of bundling wearables with smartphone purchases, resulting in a 10.3% share. Notably, Samsung’s watch shipments increased 32.7%, owing to the popularity of the latest Galaxy Watch 4 series.
Thirdly, Xiaomi experienced a 23.8% decline with a 9.3% market share, owing primarily to the decline of the wristband category as consumers prefer watches, which are now comparable in price. Fourthly, with a 7.3% market share, HUAWEI experienced a 10.8% decline. Finally, Imagine Marketing (boAt) came in fifth place with a 3% market share and a 5% YoY growth, owing to its extensive presence in India.
The market’s cooling demand will force companies to up their game and differentiate themselves from competitors. As a result, we can anticipate some good wearables from brands, which will eventually lead to market growth in the coming quarters.
Regarding the market declination, Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers said,
Consumers are increasingly becoming aware of their health and with more pricing options, there seems to be a watch available for everyone. Competition is also on the rise as smaller brands ramp up their basic health and fitness tracking watches at the low end, and as Google along with Samsung and other Wear OS partners finally become more competitive with Apple at the high end of the spectrum.