The growing adoption of wearable tech both in the consumer and enterprise market is increasing, thanks to activity in the healthcare, logistics, insurance, fintech, and defense markets. While several studies have been published on the speedy growth of wearable tech, a new report from IDC declares that the Indian wearable market touched an all-time high shipment of three million units in the April-June 2019 quarter, cementing the country’s position as the third-largest wearables market globally after China and the US.
Shipment of wearable devices grew 30.9 percent quarter-on-quarter (2.31 million units) in the second quarter of 2019, and 123.6 percent on a year-on-year basis, reaching an all-time high of three million shipments in a single quarter, said IDC.
This growth can be attributed to the rising popularity of the ear-worn wearables. It grew 122.7% QoQ and 374.9% annually in 2Q19 overtaking the wrist band shipments for the first time in the country. The earwear category includes wireless earphones that track health and fitness or enable smart assistants at the touch of a button or through hot word detection. This category accounted for most of the market shipments with 55.9% share, followed by wrist bands at 35.2% and watches at 6.9%.
“The market for ear-worn devices has seen exponential growth in the last few quarters and this will continue in the coming quarters as well, primarily because traditional audio vendors are moving towards the wireless devices as it provides the ease of operation and comfort of carrying a device, while participating in a fitness activity or taking a call on the go,” said Anisha Dumbre, Market Analyst, IDC India.
“We are also seeing several smartphone brands launching ear-worn devices since it compliments their smartphone play and they can leverage their brand strength in this new category. Moreover, a set of new brands from India are entering the market to ride on the trend of true wireless devices at affordable prices, further helping in the growth of this category,” highlights Dumbre.
Wrist bands witnessed a 24% QoQ decline in 2Q19 as the top brands corrected their inventory after heavy shipments in the last quarter. However, shipments saw a 19.3% annual growth compared to the same quarter last year. The average selling price of this category declined 9.7% from the previous quarter to USD 26 as brands have launched more affordable options in the market to onboard new segment of users.
After a decline in the last quarter, Watches saw a healthy 99.6% Year-on-Year and 42.9% QoQ growth in 2Q19. Fossil made a return after struggling with stock issues and became the leading wearable watch brand with 34% category share.
In 2Q19, Earwear devices grew more than four times from the same quarter a year ago. India based vendors played an important role in this growth as they launched affordable devices leading to the overall selling price to further drop to USD 43. In 1Q19, wrist bands was the leading wearable category with 60.7% share, followed by the earwear with 32.8% category share. While, earwear grew by 23% percentage point in 2Q19 to reach at the leading category position.
Jaipal Singh, Associate Research Manager, Client Devices, IDC India commented, “We are seeing a shift in lifestyle devices segment wherein consumers are adopting new kind of devices to track their health and fitness that is reflecting in the uptake of the wearables segment. Brands continue to augment newer health tracking features and increasingly spending on marketing, and this is helping wearables to become one of the preferred choices amongst the fitness enthusiasts to support an active lifestyle.”
“In the wearables category, wrist bands continue to serve as an affordable alternative to smartwatches, however, many companies are striving to bridge the pricing gap between wrist bands and smartwatches to serve the diverse needs of the consumer,” added Singh.
Another recent report by GlobalData, titled ‘Wearable Tech – Thematic Research’ reveals that the consumer market growth will be driven by sales of smartwatches, which are gaining in popularity as the range of features they offer (including cellular connectivity, health monitoring, and contactless payment) increases. In contrast, fitness tracker sales are falling, due to their limited capabilities when compared to smartwatches.
The research firm predicts the wearable tech industry was worth nearly $23 billion in 2018 and is set to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19% to reach $54 billion by 2023.
In a statement Ed Thomas, Principal Analyst for Technology Thematic Research said, “The wearable tech theme incorporates more than just wrist-worn devices. Smart earwear, or hearables, has become a more prominent category with the emergence of devices that incorporate voice-activated virtual assistants such as Apple’s Siri and Google’s Assistant. Hearables also have the potential to match, or even exceed, the performance of smartwatches when it comes to providing health monitoring services.”
“Over the next few years, wearable devices will become smarter, as they incorporate technologies like artificial intelligence and augmented reality and so their relevance, particularly to enterprise users across industries, will only increase,” he said.