The wearables market in India posted a remarkable 144.3% year-over-year (YoY) growth in 2020, exiting 2020 with 36.4 million unit shipments, according to the recent data from IDC. India was the only country in the top 20 to see triple-digit growth in wearables in 2020 and continues to be the third-largest wearables market globally.
This growth was majorly driven by the increasing acceptance of earwear devices and upgrades to watches from wrist bands, both recording their highest annual shipments in 2020, said the research firm.
Earwear device shipments grew more than threefold in 2020 compared to the previous year, mainly driven by the affordable launches, and expanding use cases beyond entertainment like virtual meetings and e-learning requirements. Truly Wireless Stereo (TWS) devices were the top gainer seeing a tenfold increase with shipments totaling 11.3 million units in 2020.
“Hearables became one of the most sought-after electronic categories in 2020. The newer version of hearables are much better in managing the increased audio usages and improved aesthetic and design also made them the trendsetter,” says Anisha Dumbre, Market Analyst, IDC India.
“TWS category saw the much-needed price corrections with several vendors launching devices at more affordable price points leading to the drop in the average selling price of TWS to $45 in 2020 from $110 in 2019,” she said.
The fourth-quarter 2020 recorded the biggest quarter for wearables in India, maintaining triple-digit growth. Overall, vendors shipped 15.2 million units, growing 198.2% YoY. This was the first quarter when shipments of watches crossed the one million mark as vendors shipped 1.3 million units during the quarter. Noise’s Colorfit pro-2, Realme watch, Apple’s watch series 6, and new launches from Amazfit provided this strong growth for watches in Q4 2020.
A recent ABI Research also expects this number of wearable devices will grow from 30 million to 104 million within by 2025. Wearables are also increasingly helping physicians to monitor elderly patients at home.
With COVID-19, these wearables also help to reduce the amount of unnecessary contact between the seriously ill and medical professionals, who are at serious risk of exposure to the virus transmission. “There are some exciting wearable deployments in place which are helping to track and monitor the spread of COVID-19,” Stephanie Tomsett, Wearables Analyst at ABI Research explains.
As we return to work, wearables can play a critical role in keeping us safe not just by contact tracing but by informing companies on changes needed within an office, a manufacturing floor or an educational institute to minimize the risk of exposure.
Several Indian startups are also actively participating in the wearables bandwagon. For example, an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras-incubated startup Muse Wearables has developed a wrist-based tracker with skin temperature, heart rate and SpO2 (blood oxygen saturation) sensing which can continuously track these body vitals remotely that will help in early diagnosis of COVID-19 symptoms. The tracker is Bluetooth-enabled and can be connected to the mobile phone via an app called the ‘Muse Health App’.
The market is also seeing the emergence of smart watches embedded with digital assistants that can help users find out if they have Covid-19 symptoms. As IDC shows that smartwatches grew significantly growing at 139.3% YoY with 2.6-million unit shipments in 2020.
With sensors becoming more sophisticated, battery life improving thanks to smarter silicon platform designs and connectivity attach rates growing, the future will see more innovations in wearable technology. The day, in fact, is not far when we see wearables graduating from a nice to have device to one that positively impacts our life in areas such as health and fitness, safety, enterprise productivity and all-around wellness.