China is Surging in Wearables, Too

Posted on March 5, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Apple Watch, Fitbit, Wearables with 5 Comments

The latest marketshare data from IDC suggests that smartphones aren’t the only market about to be dominated by the Chinese. Companies like Xiaomi and Huawei saw huge growth in wearables in the fourth quarter of 2018 and threaten to dethrone Apple in the coming year.

“The market for ear-worn wearables has grown substantially this past year and we expect this to continue in the years to come,” the firm said in its report. “Smartwatches, meanwhile, grew 54.3 percent and accounted for 29.8 percent of all wearable device shipments in 2018.”

According to IDC, hardware makers shipped 172.2 million wearables in the fourth quarter of 2018, a gain of 27.5 percent year-over-year. Smartwatches accounted for 55.2 percent of those wearables, followed by wrist bands (30 percent) and ear-worn devices (22 percent).

Apple, with 16.2 million units sold, retained its number one position in the market, with 27.4 percent share. But Apple’s overall market share fell, from 29.6 percent in the year-ago quarter, thanks to much stronger growth from two Chinese-based companies, Xiaomi and Huawei.

Xiaomi jumped into second place in the quarter, with 7.5 million units sold, thanks to growth of 43.3 percent. But Huawei grew by a whopping 248.5 percent to 5.7 million units, good for a third-place finish. The firm wasn’t even in the top five a year ago.

“Xiaomi remains strong in its home country of China [but] recent investments in Europe and other Asian countries have paid off and helped cement Xiaomi’s name as a competitive force,” IDC noted. “Huawei had a great quarter in the wearables and smartphone markets … many of the Huawei and Honor phones were bundled with wearables. New product launches also helped the company gain traction.”

Fitbit and Samsung rounded out the top five with 5.5 and 4.0 million units sold, respectively.

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