The challenges facing Google in the wearables arena won’t instantly be solved by the recent acquiring of Fitbit, but after claiming 6% of the market share in 2019, at least it now some sort of “foothold” in the wearable space.
According to a report by data analysis firm IDC, shipments of wearable devices reached 336.5 million in 2019. The lion’s share of those belonged to Apple, which chalked up 43.4 million sales in the 12 month period. However, this report does include other wearable accessories such as AirPods, AirPods Pro, and, of course, the immensely popular Apple Watch.
Because the data does include wireless headphones and earphones, there is some discrepancy. More than half of the 118.9 million devices shipped in the fourth quarter of 2019 were audio accessories. That does put into perspective just how impressive the sales of the Apple AirPods line have been in recent years though. It will be interesting to see just how Google’s own Pixel Buds will do when they hit the market soon.
Smartwatches and smart wristbands accounted saw 15% year-on-year growth for the 12-month period, with wrist-worn devices accounting for almost 44% of the entire market. Overall, the wearables market is in a healthy position, with an 89% increase in global shipments in 2019 compared to 2018.
IDC has Apple as the number one wearable vendor with 106.5 million total shipments for 2019, with Xiaomi, Samsung, Huawei, and Fitbit making up the rest of the top 5. Fitbit accounted for just 15.9 million global shipments of smart wearables, but it’s worth noting that no Wear OS manufacturers make the list — discounting the recent Xiaomi Wear OS smartwatch.
Apple led the market with 43.4 million units shipped in 4Q19 thanks to its refreshed AirPods, AirPods Pro, and Apple Watch as well as its Beats products spanning multiple price points. However, as the company’s products did well overall during the quarter, Apple Watch shipments declined 5.2% year over year as the company experienced supply shortages.
Xiaomi ranked second shipping 12.8 million wearables of which 73.3% (9.4 million) were wristbands. The share of wristbands within Xiaomi’s overall wearables portfolio has declined from 4Q18 when they accounted for 81.8% of shipments, reflecting a growing trend towards hearables and, to a lesser extent, watches landing in China.
Samsung finished in third place thanks to a strong portfolio of products as well as multiple brands under its belt, including JBL and Infinity. Key to its success was its Galaxy Active and Active 2 smartwatches, broadening its audience from multi-purpose device users to health and fitness-focused enthusiasts. Driving volumes forward was its strategy to bundle wearables with its smartphones, which further developed its distribution with carriers.
Despite political pressure, Huawei grew its wearable device shipments 63.4% with overall. Wristbands accounted for the vast majority of its shipment volume but growing the most were its watches with several kids’ watches and the GT2. Huawei also added several new hearables to its portfolio, keeping its selection aligned with the other market leaders.
Fitbit rounded out the top five and saw its shipments rebound for the first time following two consecutive years of declining volume. The company still relied on its fitness trackers to drive volume, but its smartwatches nevertheless reached a new record with six million units shipped for the year thanks to the release of its Versa 2 and discounted Versa Lite and Ionic.
The “other” category actually accounts for the vast majority of total sales in 2019 though. Although the CDC did not detail the breakdowns of this category. A previous report had Wear OS with less than 10% US market share, if Google has grand plans to boost the platform with the use of Fitbit, then we are interested to see just what they have in store.
More on Fitbit:
- EU advisors: Google’s Fitbit acquisition has ‘high level of risk’ for privacy
- Fitbit starts rolling out blood oxygen tracking with Sp02 sensor
- Report: Google silent so far on Fitbit plans, balked at Assistant on Versa 2
FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.