IDC: Wearables Market Grew 28.4 Percent in 2020

Posted on March 16, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Apple Watch, Fitbit, Music + Videos, Wearables with 5 Comments

The market researchers at IDC claim that the wearables market grew by 28.4 percent last year, with Apple in first place by a wide margin.

“While the shift in spending along with new products and typical seasonality were at play during the fourth quarter, the pandemic has also been good for the market as it has put health and fitness at the forefront of many consumers’ minds,” IDC research manager Jitesh Ubrani says. “In-home fitness programs are quickly becoming a crucial component of the wearables offering for many companies. Beyond that, the proliferation of health sensors such as skin temperature, ECG, and heart rate tracking [is] allowing users and health professionals to better understand the onset and tracking of diseases.”

To be clear, “wearables” in this case includes smartwatches, fitness trackers, wireless earbuds, and any other similar products. The vast majority of wearables sold are ear-based devices, not wrist-based devices.

Apple controls over 36 percent of the wearables market, with overall 2020 unit sales of an estimated 151.4 million units, a gain of 35.9 percent year-over-year (YOY). Apple Watch grew 45.6 percent in the fourth quarter, and its headphone/earbuds unit sales grew 22 percent.

Xiaomi was number two in 2020 with unit sales of 50.7 million. Huawei (43.5 million), Samsung (40 million), and Fitbit (12.9 million) round out the top five. Fitbit was the only firm in the top five to sell fewer units than in the previous year; in 2019, IDC says that Fitbit sold 15.9 million wearables.

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Comments (5)

5 responses to “IDC: Wearables Market Grew 28.4 Percent in 2020”

  1. VMax

    I'm curious as to what criteria are used to classify headphones as wearables. Given the numbers, it seems as though not all headphones are?

  2. samp

    The earbuds market is growing due to covid as many WFH need them, or chose to upgrade, for wireless calls.


    This may be a one time trend, although (in my experience), one tech is bought, if it breaks, a replacement is bought, even if it isn't strictly needed (things are missed more if you once had it), and anyways, now WFH is "the new normal".

    • b6gd

      In reply to samp:

      I don’t think COVID had much to do with it. Five in our family and we had already all been on Apple Watch and Air Pods for multiple years before Covid. Three of us did upgrade to the gen 6 version of the watch this year coming from gen 3.


      The trend to ditch the head phone jacks started with the iPhone X 3 years ago pushing people to wireless. Samsung followed pretty quick.



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