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.