Apple dominated wearable sales in 2020

Apple continued to dominate the market for wearables such as smartwatches and wireless earphones throughout 2020, according to a recent report from the IDC.

The tech giant secured 34.1% of the global wearable market, managing to ship 151.4 million units during 2020.

This was 100 million units more than second-placed competitor Xiaomi.

Although new devices and reduced costs influenced the holiday quarter, the broader theme for 2020 was a rise in customer spending, primarily due to the surge of disposable income.

While there was a change in spending, new products, and typical variability, the pandemic strengthened the industry by pushing health and fitness to the forefront of many consumer’s minds.

Total shipments of wearables climbed to 444.7 million units – an increase of 28.4% year-on-year.

Growth was not consistent across the wearables industry in the fourth quarter, however, as the global semiconductor shortage harmed some companies and products.

As wristbands declined by 17.8% during the quarter, wireless earphones were the most significant category composing 64.2% of the share, followed by watches with a 24.1% share.

Research director of IDC’s Wearables Team Ramon T. Llamas said that 2020 was the year where wireless earphones became a must-have device.

“Hearables provided a new degree of privacy, particularly during home quarantine but also while out in public,” Llamas said.

Highlights during Q4 2020

In the final quarter of 2020, Apple led the market once again with a 36.2% share of shipments, thanks in part to its three distinct smartwatch models and with different pricing.

Xiaomi finished the quarter in second place, with a 5% year-over-year increase. However, shipments of the company’s well-known Mi Band line-up fell 18.3% in a quarter with major chip supply constraints.

Samsung managed to claim third, mainly due to its wireless earphones, as 8.8 million units were shipped across its different brands.

Although the demand for these products was comparatively poor, Samsung’s low-cost wristbands gained popularity, allowing it to compete with Chinese vendors.

Huawei dropped to fourth place in Q4 2020, as the company continued to struggle with US government sanctions.

Despite the 9.4% increase in shipments to China, shipments to previously strong markets like Asia (excluding Japan and China), the Middle East, Africa, and Western Europe decreased.

India-based BoAt rounded out the top five with 5.4 million units of wireless earphones sold.

The tables below show the total number of shipments and market share of the top 5 wearable vendors in the fourth quarters of 2019 and 2020, as well as the full years.

Top 5 wearable device companies by shipments – Q4 2020 vs Q4 2019
Company Q4 2020 shipments Q4 2020 market share Q4 2019 shipments Q4 2019 market share Year-over-year growth
1. Apple 55.6 million 36.2% 43.7 million 36% 27.2%
2. Xiaomi 13.5 million 8.8% 12.8 million 10.6% 5.0%
3. Samsung 13.0 million 8.5% 10.8 million 9.0% 20.5%
4. Huawei 10.2 million 6.7% 9.5 million 7.9% 7.6%
5. BoAt 5.4 million 3.5% 0.9 million 0.8% 470.1%
Others 55.8 million 36.4% 42.9 million 35.6% 30.0%
Total 153.5 million 100.0% 120.7 million 100.0% 27.2%
Top 5 wearable device companies by shipments – 2020 vs 2019
Company 2020 shipments 2020 market share 2019 shipments 2019 market share Year-over-year growth
1. Apple 151.4 million 34.1% 111.5 million 32.2% 35.9%
2. Xiaomi 50.7 million 11.4% 41.7 million 12.0% 21.7%
3. Huawei 43.5 million 9.8% 28.9 million 8.3% 50.7%
4. Samsung 40.0 million 9.0% 31.4 million 9.1% 27.3%
5. Fitbit 12.9 million 2.9% 15.9 million 4.6% -18.8%
Others 146.1 million 32.9% 117.1 million 33.8% 24.7%
Total 444.7 million 100.0% 346.4 million 100.0% 28.4%

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Apple dominated wearable sales in 2020