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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