Wearables continue growth in Q2 2020, propelled by earbuds, headphones

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As expected, the wearable device market continues to do better as compared to the smartphone and other mobile markets in the midst of this pandemic. As people continue to be concerned about their health and wellness, it’s not much of a surprise that smartwatches and fitness bands will continue to sell. But it’s actually the “hearables” segment or the wireless earbuds, headphones, etc that has propelled the growth this second quarter of 2020. Apple continues to be the top brand in terms of shipments and market share but Huawei is top when it comes to year-over-year growth.

According to the report from the International Data Corporation, this second quarter of 2020 saw the wearables market grow 14.1% and ship 86.2 million units globally. The hearables were actually the strongest segment as compared to smartwatches and fitness trackers, even though there is still a heavy focus on exercise and fitness routines within the home as a lot of gyms and fitness centers remain closed. But it looks like people want to be able to listen to music while working out or maybe there are still a lot of online meetings and webinars so earphones and headphones are essential.

That particular segment accounts for 60% of all the wearables that were sold during this quarter and it grew 32.6% compared to the previous period. Apple was dominant with its AirPods and Beats while Samsung and Xiaomi were the bridesmaids in this category. The traditional headphone makers like Sony, Jabra, Bose, etc were more on the high-end, premium market and so they ranked lower. The watches and fitness trackers were 32.9% of all the shipments and they were down 46.8%. The top three were Apple, Huawei, and Xiaomi and they were pretty dominant leaving little room for the other players.

The bright spot for Huawei, despite all the issues with the U.S. government and its allies, is that its wrist-worn wearables experienced 58% growth year-over-year. It was the primary reason why the whole market had a 14.1% growth compared to the same period the previous year. Huawei was also top in the wrist-worn wearables in terms of shipments and market share this second quarter of 2020. Fitbit and Garmin were also in the top 5. In terms of definition, wrist-worn wearables are smartwatches, basic watches, and wrist bands.

David Myhrer, research vice president fro IDC’s Consumer Technology Strategy Service, said that smartwatches and fitness trackers are now “discretionary purchases” as there is now low demand for those that don’t have a source of income now, obviously. But he also said that the consumers that are at the top of the market remain bullish. Numbers for the third quarter are expected to be better as more organizations and countries are looking to wearables to help with the fight against COVID-19.

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