Report: Huawei Saw Huge Growth in Wearables, Too

Posted on May 31, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Apple Watch, Fitbit, Wearables with 18 Comments

A new report from IDC claims that the wearables market grew 55 percent in the first quarter year-over-year. But Huawei grew by 282.2 percent, outpacing Samsung’s growth and obliterating Apple’s.

“The elimination of headphone jacks and the increased usage of smart assistants both inside and outside the home have been driving factors in the growth of ear-worn wearables,” the research firm notes. “[But] shipments of wristwear – including watches and wristbands – grew 31.6 percent year over year, and continue to dominate the wearables landscape.”

Overall, device makers shipped 49.6 million wearables in the first quarter of 2019, up 55 percent from the 31.9 million units from the same quarter a year ago, IDC says. Wrist-worn wearables accounted for 63.2 percent of those devices, but ear-worn devices experienced faster 135 percent growth.

As is the case in smartphones, Huawei saw its share of the wearables market grow much faster than any of its competitors. It’s only the third largest wearable maker, after Apple and Xiaomi, but it is already beating both Samsung and Fitbit. And it experienced growth of 282.2 percent in the quarter, outpacing the rest of the industry, and most of it by far.

Apple lost share in the quarter, but it remains the biggest maker of wearables with an estimated 12.8 units sold and 25.8 percent marketshare. (Apple grew unit sales by 49.5 percent YOY.) At number two, China-based Xiaomi delivered 6.6 million units sold in the quarter and 13.3 percent market share, a gain of 68.2 percent. Huawei, meanwhile, shipped 5 million wearables, up an astonishing 282.2 percent. And Samsung (4.3 million units, 8.7 percent marketshare, 151.6 percent growth) and Fitbit (2.9 million units, 5.9 percent marketshare, 35.7 percent growth) round out the top five.

Interestingly, Apple’s dominance of the market is dependent on its low-cost AirPods and Beats headphones and not on Apple Watch. When IDC looked just at wrist-worn wearables, Apple placed second, with 4.6 million units, and a YOY gain of only 14.8 percent, the smallest growth of the top five. Xiaomi is number one in wrist-worn wearables, with 5.3 million units sold and 43.6 percent growth. But here, again, Huawei saw the biggest growth: It is the number three player with 3.9 million units sold, and it grew by 213 percent. Fitbit (2.9 million units, 36 percent growth) and Samsung (2 million units, 92 percent growth) round out the top five.

Of course, Huawei’s success comes with an asterisk: Thanks to an attack by the U.S. government, Huawei’s ability to compete moving forward may be severely limited.

“Huawei’s success in the wearables market has been directly tied to its success in smartphones as the two products are often bundled together,” IDC notes. “However, with the recent uncertainty surrounding the company’s future in smartphones, the outlook for the wearables side of the business will also remain in flux.”

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Comments (18)

18 responses to “Report: Huawei Saw Huge Growth in Wearables, Too”

  1. PeterC

    I think we all now acknowledge that Huawei were using their wearable division to infiltrate USA households to undermine family life and record the private household conversation, and as such have been placed on a security “watch” list.....

  2. Tony Barrett

    I've had a WearOS smart watch for over 4 years now. Still going strong, and getting the latest updates. Could I live without it? Yes, probably, but you get very used to having that tech on your wrist, and what I can do with it now way improves on what it could do originally. WearOS is *very* underrated, and it's maturing quite nicely now. Let's hope Google keep up the momentum!

  3. hoelzer48

    Wearables always remind me of this quote:

     “Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-two million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.”

    ― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy 

  4. Daekar

    No interesting in wearables here either. Unless you have a serious health condition, even fitness tracking is pointless navel-gazing. Listen to your body and these devices have almost nothing to offer. I think it's indicative how many people agree with me that wearables only started getting more popular when they started to look like regular watches.

  5. christian.hvid

    Huawei's original Watch from 2015 is still the WearOS device to beat, at least in terms of quality and style. I've worn mine for over 1200 days straight, and it still looks brand new, and way more beautiful than the Apple Watch. I just wish Huawei would re-release the exact same watch, but with updated internals.

  6. brduffy

    I was slow to jump on the smart phone craze. I don't know if I'll ever buy a smart watch. No interest at all.

  7. dcdevito

    Good for Huawei, but Apple Watch is years ahead of the competition. It’s laughable how far ahead it is.

  8. dontbe evil

    but but apple is the best /s

  9. lvthunder

    Comparing percentages is a joke. If I sold 5 watches one year and 500 the next I would have 10,000% growth. If someone else sold 1 million watches and the next year sold 2 million watches that would be 100% growth. Which would you rather be? I would rather be the second one.

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