ChannelLife Australia logo
Industry insider news for Australia's technology resellers
Story image

Consumer demand boosts wearable device market growth

By Catherine Knowles
Wed 17 Mar 2021
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Enthusiasm for wearable devices continues to grow, with overall shipments increasing significantly, according to new data from IDC.

IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker shows worldwide shipments of wearable devices reached 153.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2020 (4Q20), a year-over-year increase of 27.2%.

Shipments for the full year grew 28.4% to 444.7 million units.

Wearable trends

While the final quarter was largely driven by new devices and lower prices, the broader trend for 2020 was the surge in consumer spending for electronics as disposable income was reallocated from leisure activities during the pandemic, IDC states.

IDC Mobile Device Trackers research manager Jitesh Ubrani says, "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."

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 are allowing users and health professionals to better understand the onset and tracking of diseases."

Growth by product

However, growth has not been even across the wearables market as some companies and products were affected by the global semiconductor shortage, IDC states.

Most notably, wristbands declined 17.8% during the quarter and accounted for just 11.5% of all wearable devices shipped.

‘Hearables’ were the largest category of devices with 64.2% share of shipments, followed by watches with 24.1% share.

IDC Wearables Team research director Ramon T. Llamas says, "2020 was the year that hearables became the must-have device.

"Hearables provided a new degree of privacy, particularly during home quarantine but also while out in public.

"Meeting that demand was a long list of vendors with an equally long list of devices, spanning the range of feature sets and price points.

"Underpinning the hearables market was a constantly shifting competitive landscape, with companies slowly gaining a foothold in the market (Amazon and its Echo Buds and Frames), vendors introducing new form factors (Apple and AirPods Max), and new features making their way down the price curve, including automatic noise cancelling and voice assistant capability."

Growth by company

In terms of companies, Apple led the market once again with 36.2% share of 4Q20 shipments.

Its Watch shipments rose 45.6% thanks to the appeal of three models with different price points (Series 6, Watch SE, Series 3).

Hearables shipments also surged during the quarter although year-over-year growth slowed to 22%, down from 28% and 29% in the previous two quarters.

The slowing growth reflects the huge amount of adoption that the market has seen in recent quarters, IDC states.

Xiaomi ended the quarter in the second position, growing 5% year over year.

However, the company's shipments of its popular Mi Band lineup declined 18.3% during the supply-challenged quarter.

Driving overall growth was the expansion of the hearables line, which grew 55.5% since last year and is largely focused on China and the rest of Asia/Pacific.

Looking ahead, the company is well positioned to gain from Huawei's declines as well as grow in EMEA thanks to its push in the smartphone industry.

Samsung held the third position with growth coming from its hearables business as the company shipped 8.8 million units across its various brands.

Samsung's low-cost wristbands also saw greater traction and were able to compete with the Chinese vendors in a few markets although overall volume for these devices was relatively low at 1.3 million units.

Overall watch shipments declined to 2.9 million in 4Q20. Huawei fell to fourth place in 4Q20 and continued to struggle with the sanctions imposed by the U.S. government.

While its shipments within China grew 9.4% year over year, shipments declined in previously strong markets such as Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan and China), the Middle East and Africa, and Western Europe.

The company has slowly started to move away from wristbands and towards watches as exhibited by the 18.2% growth in watch shipments and the 33.7% decline in wristbands.

Watches also command a higher average selling price (ASP) and enabled the company to get closer to developers with its homegrown HarmonyOS, which is expected to tie in with smartwatches in the future.

BoAt rounded out the top five with 5.4 million units shipped in 4Q20. However, the company is solely operating in India and almost exclusively focuses on the hearables segment.

As such, global expansion may prove challenging as the global wearables market remains dominated by multinational brands, according to IDC.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Digital Transformation
How to modernise legacy apps without compromising security
At a time when digital transformation has become central to business, even the most important applications come with a ‘use-by’ date.
Story image
Ransomware
A third of companies paying ransom don’t recover data - report
Veeam's report finds 76% of businesses who are victims of cyberattacks paid the ransom to recover data, but a third were still unable to get their information back.
Story image
Apple
Apple previews new features for users with disabilities
Apple says new software features that offer users with disabilities new tools for navigation, health and communication, are set to come out later this year.
Story image
Fintech
Airwallex launches new bank feed integration with NetSuite
Airwallex has launched a new bank feed integration with NetSuite, developed in partnership with NetSuite solution partner, Onlineone.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Updates from Google Workspace set to ease hybrid working troubles
Google Workspace has announced a variety of new features which will utilise Google AI capabilities to help make hybrid working situations more efficient and effective.
Story image
Gaming
Mastercard users can now use rewards points in gaming
Mastercard has launched Mastercard Gamer Xchange (MGX), allowing APAC consumers to convert their rewards points into gaming currency.
Story image
Gaming
PNY launches XLR8 Gaming EPIX memory products in A/NZ
PNY has launched its XLR8 Gaming EPIC-X RGB™ DDR4 Silver 3200MHz and 3600MHz memory products in Australia and New Zealand.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
ANU and Seeing Machines to use AI to improve driver safety
The Australian National University and Seeing Machines have won a grant to develop AI systems monitor human behaviour while driving.
Story image
Microsoft
SAS Viya on Microsoft Azure to deliver 204% return - study
The Forrester Total Economic Impact study finds SAS Viya on Microsoft Azure brings a 204% return on investment over three years.
Story image
Application Performance Monitoring / APM
Why SolarWinds Partners will have big wins in 2022
We summarise the key recent changes that the monitoring software vendor has made to accelerate its channel business.
Story image
Testing
Google and CSIRO use AI to help protect the Great Barrier Reef
Google has partnered with CSIRO in Australia to implement AI solutions that help protect the Great Barrier Reef.
Story image
Fortinet
Fortinet's Security Fabric hits new record for integrations
The Fortinet Security Fabric has surpassed 500 technology integrations with more than 300 Fabric-Ready Technology Alliance Partners.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Three key security challenges facing the Australian insurance industry 
Insurance companies must ensure they proactively address security challenges and protect the privacy of customer data.
Story image
Manufacturing
HINDSITE wins Aerospace Xelerated Pitch Challenge with solution to support Boeing
Brisbane-based startup HINDSITE was the winner of the first ever Pitch Challenge organised by Aerospace Xelerated in partnership with Queensland XR Hub. 
Story image
VPN
Palo Alto Networks says ZTNA 1.0 not secure enough
Palo Alto Networks is urging the industry to move to Zero Trust Network Access 2.0 because previous versions have major gaps in security protection.
Story image
PaaS
New digital traffic light system to tackle construction defects
Smarter Defects Management launches its PaaS digital system and says it will revolutionise managing defects in the construction industry.
Story image
WolfVision
WolfVision announces new range of visualisers
WolfVision has announced a new range of visualisers to help meet multiple industry demands for remote learning and educational solutions.
Story image
Mobility
Hands-on review: STM laptop bags
The advent of hybrid working has meant we need laptop bags. We got our hands on two of the most popular laptop bags from STM.
Story image
Phishing
Google reveals new safety and security measures for users
Google's new measures include automatic two step verification, virtual cards and making it easier to remove contact information on Google Search results.
Story image
Sift
Sift shares crucial advice for preventing serious ATO breaches
Are you or your business struggling with Account Takeover Fraud (ATO)? One of the latest ebooks from Sift can provide readers with the tools and expertise to help launch them into the new era of account security.
Story image
Wasabi Technologies
Wasabi opens new cloud storage in Australia with Equinix
Wasabi Technologies has opened a new hot cloud storage region in Sydney, Australia, using Equinix services. This is the company's 12th global storage region.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
AI-based email security platform Abnormal Security valued at $4B
"A new breed of cybersecurity solutions that leverage AI is required to change the game and stop the rising threat of sophisticated and targeted email attacks."
Story image
Review
Hands-on review: MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WIFI motherboard
It’s all change with Intel’s 12th generation CPUs. We have a new chipset in the 600-series, a new socket with the LGA 1700, and new DDR5 memory.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Managed service providers: effective scoping to avoid costly vendor pitfalls
Managed security services are outsourced services focusing on the security and resilience of business networks.
Story image
Telstra
Telstra and Silver Trak Digital delivers 5G to the cinemas
Telstra and Silver Trak Digital say they've launched Australia's fastest and most secure delivery of content over 5G for cinemas.
Story image
Phishing
KnowBe4 celebrates reaching 50,000 customers worldwide
KnowBe4 has reached the milestone of 50,000 customers, adding nearly 2,500 in the first quarter of 2022 alone.
Story image
Remote Working
How zero trust and SD-WANs can support productive remote working
The way people connect with applications and data has changed, users are remotely accessing resources that could be stored anywhere from a corporate data center to the cloud.
Story image
Application Security
What are the DDoS attack trend predictions for 2022?
Mitigation and recovery are vital to ensuring brand reputation remains solid in the face of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack and that business growth and innovation can continue.
Story image
SaaS
Atturra partners with Focus HQ to support Aus organisations
Atturra has executed a partnership agreement with Focus HQ, to resell and support the company's Australian developed SaaS-based portfolio management platform.
Story image
Wireless
Hands-on review: Technics EAH-A800 Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones
Designed in Osaka, Japan, these headphones just exude quality. They aren’t heavy, but they feel well built and solid.
Story image
Cybersecurity
The 'A-B-C' of effective application security
Software applications have been a key tool for businesses for decades, but the way they are designed and operated has changed during the past few years.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
SAS launches human-focused responsible innovation initiative
SAS has launched a responsible innovation initiative, furthering its commitment to equity and putting people first.
Story image
trust
9/10 Aussies to stop spending if personal data compromised
"Based on the patterns we are seeing among Australian consumers, it is evident that trust in a brand is exceptionally important."
Story image
Ransomware
Cybersecurity starts with education
In 2021, 80% of Australian organisations responding to the Sophos State of Ransomware study reported being hit by ransomware. 
Story image
Cybersecurity
HackerOne launches Attack Resistance Management solution
HackerOne has launched Attack Resistance Management - a new category of security solution that targets the root causes of the attack resistance gap. 
Story image
Ransomware
Zerto unveils updates to ransomware recovery capabilities
"Organisations face increased risks from the volume and sophistication of ransomware attacks prevalent today."
Story image
Cybersecurity
Hard numbers: Why ambiguity in cybersecurity no longer adds up
As cybersecurity costs and risks continue to escalate, CEOs continue to struggle with what their investment in cyber protection buys. Getting rid of ambiguity becomes necessary.
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Datacom, Micro Focus, SnapLogic and VMware
We round up all job appointments from May 6-12, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
SAS unveils AI experience to improve kids' batting abilities
SAS has created The Batting Lab, an interactive experience using AI, computer vision and IoT analytics to help kids improve their baseball and softball swings.
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft unveils adaptive accessories for disability access
Microsoft is introducing an expansive Inclusive Tech Lab to give people with disabilities greater access to technology through new software features and adaptive accessories.
Story image
Ransomware
Ingram Micro Cloud adds Bitdefender solutions to marketplace
Ingram Micro Cloud has announced the expanded availability of Bitdefender solutions on the Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace.
Story image
Alteryx
Decision Inc. Australia enters partnership with Alteryx
Independent data and analytics consultancy Decision Inc. Australia has partnered with automated analytics company Alteryx, expanding its offering to clients.
Story image
Workato
Workato unveils enhancements to enterprise automation platform
"The extra layer of protection with EKM, zero-logging, and hourly key rotation gives customers a lot more visibility and control over more sensitive data."
Story image
Wireless
Sony to bring new 1000X series WH-1000XM5 headphones to the market
Sony has announced the newest edition of its award-winning wireless headphones, with the 1000X series WH-1000XM5 noise-cancelling model.