Affordable pricing is driving the sales momentum of wearables which grew by 32.3% year-over-year with volumes reaching 114.2 million during the second quarter of 2021 (2Q21), said IDC. The research firm also noted that India’s wearables (smartwatches, wrist bands and earwear) market grew 118.2% year-over-year (YoY) in 2Q21 (April-June) with an overall shipment of 11.2 million units.
Indian firms lead the pack
Indian brands have been quicker to leverage this trend and align their device portfolio. Among the top five brands, three spots are captured by Indian brands. Noise continues to be the leading player in the overall watch category for five straight quarters with a 28.6% share in 2Q21 and closely followed by BoAt with a 26.9% share. Fire-boltt, another homegrown brand, has entered at fourth position in just three quarters of starting its business in this category.
“Affordability has been the key for Indian brands, and these brands have been immensely successful in gaining a significant portion of the watch market with competitive pricing, aggressive marketing, and faster adoption of new features,” says Anisha Dumbre, Market Analyst, Client Devices, IDC India.
“This new generation of homegrown brands are digitally native, aware of their limitations and selectively targeting the gaps. However, they need to be watchful of the China-based brands, who going forward will be aggressive by introducing more sub-brands and leveraging the ecosystem play,” added Dumbre.
Globally, IDC also showed that among the wearables, hearables or audio devices and watches each grew 39% during the quarter as demand continued to soar for these categories. The market for wristbands remained flat as consumers continue to transition to watches. It also noted that there are few new products manufacturers are introducing recently.
“Both the watch and hearables categories have seen a sharp rise in adoption due to new entrants as well as discounting on older models,” said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers. “Watches priced between $200 and $300 have gained 10 percentage points since last year thanks to devices like the Watch SE, Series 3, Versa 3, and the Galaxy Watch Active 2. Meanwhile, hearables in the sub-$100 space have enjoyed a similar trend largely thanks to brands such as Xiaomi, BoAt, Huawei, JBL, and JLAB as they have succeeded at making premium features such as active noise control (ANC) more affordable.”
Cheaper price points
Apple once again led the market with a 28.2% share though growth slowed to 9.3%. The slowdown in year-over-year growth was somewhat expected given Apple’s aging product lineup as well as the surge in sales it has seen over the past few quarters.
Xiaomi ranked second thanks to its tremendous progress in the hearables category. On a unit basis, hearables surpassed wristbands for the company for the first time. The company continues to employ the same strategy in hearables as it does in wristbands, namely low-cost devices with a strong online presence.
Despite Huawei’s growth across most regions, the company continues to rely heavily on its home market of China. More than three-quarters of Huawei’s shipments were in China in 2Q21 up from 72.9% last year. By making its wearables compatible with any Android phone and by offering very competitive pricing, the company has managed to experience some growth even in markets where Huawei’s phone business has declined.
Samsung captured the fourth position. As one of the few premium smartwatches and hearables vendors outside of Apple, the company has managed to carve out a nice spot for itself in mature markets and is often regarded as the de facto choice of wearables for Android users. The company’s growth is also attributed to the multiple brands and price points offered.
Imagine Marketing, the company behind the popular BoAt brand, rounded out the top 5. Though the company has its beginnings in the hearables business, it has since expanded into watches and wristbands as well. However, the company still operates only within India.
Smartwatch the fastest growing segment
Smart watches continued to be the fastest-growing category accounting for 81.2% share in the wristwear category that includes watches and wristbands, up from 35.0% a year ago. The earwear category also maintained its momentum, doubling its shipments in 2Q21 and remains the largest category in wearables.
“What also makes these devices popular is the variety in feature sets and price points. “As the market has matured, so have vendor product portfolios,” said Ramon T. Llamas, research director for IDC’s Wearables team. “Offering a selection of good/better/best devices at staggered price points allows companies to approach more customers. Over time, features once reserved for only the high-end devices will eventually make their way down to the mid-tier and the mass market. This, in turn, will lure people to upgrade or purchase their first devices, thus placing wearables — both watches and hearables — on a steady treadmill of growth and upgrades.”
IDC also said that despite early signs of slower consumer tech spending, purchases of wearable devices remained strong during the quarter as consumers once again ventured outdoors with the urge to track their health and activity.