Sport/Smart Watch ShakeUp Starts – IDC Figures WILL Cast A Long Shadow

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Sport/Smart Watch ShakeUp Starts for Wearables

Despite any Covid-induced slowdown in the first quarter of 2020, IDC reports that the wearable market of factory-shipped devices grew by almost 30% y.o.y. – so that’s just the number of devices and not the retail value, hence a skew toward the influence of cheaper products. Nevertheless, it’s a good level of overall growth.

The aggregate figures include ‘hearables’ which account for over half of the wearables market, I don’t quite think that music-playback earbuds have anywhere near the sophistication of an Apple Watch and perhaps should be included as simple audio playback devices in many cases but let’s leave the figures as what they are but focus more on the watch numbers that IDC also breaks out.

Huawei, Garmin, and Huami all managed to maintain good growth, although I would expect that to change significantly when we look at Q2 figures where I’m guessing we will see more of the significant impact that Covid19 has had on Western markets.

What IDC Data Says About the Companies (my opinions)

Apple was the #1 company with nearly a third of the market although their overall share of WATCH sales fell slightly to approx 25% of units shipped. Let’s watch this number VERY closely this year. 2019 could well have been Peak Apple (Watch). If that turns out to be the case we will see Apple step up a gear perhaps introducing more variants on AW6/7 (2020-2021) – perhaps finally even a more sporty round one 😉 Maybe.

Xiaomi (partner with Huami to make Amazfit) and have several low-cost products including Amazfit GTS, GTR, T-Rex and the new Amazfit Ares (they also do 3rd party watches for people like Timex IIRC), and we’ve not even seen the full impact of those on the market yet. Along with other low-cost companies, these are going to become much more widely known and trusted by consumers – the Amazfit Stratos was a pretty good product 2 and a bit years ago and the 3rd Gen product is even better.

Huawei (and Honor) saw impressive growth which IDC report to be in China. But Huawei is going to face very significant difficulties in the future in English-speaking markets (perhaps not the UK) and probably also with the EU, reportedly due to their inherent links to the Chinese state demanded by Chinese law – simply put they are legally forced to spy – I’m probably imagining it, right? Source UK tabloid rag, read it and make your own mind up, they only cite the opinion of leading international lawyers. Try Twitter instead.

Samsung’s share with Watches fell, unfortunately for them I expect that to continue ultimately because their watch sales will be primarily driven by smartphone sales (which I believe are heading South too) rather than standalone sales.

Fitbit watches have now well and truly descended into the ‘others’ category, perhaps due to technical reasons for this quarter. I’ve bemoaned Fitbit’s watches many times but believe (hope) that Google will perhaps eventually make a good showing with them on Wear OS.

Garmin looks to be one of the winners right now. Along with Apple, Google and some others they are sitting on an Alpine cash mountain-range sufficient to weather event the worst financial typhoon, let alone to weather a mere storm in a Covid-filled teacup. They have more real product innovations to come, they have more geographic markets yet to properly capitalise on and their short-term market share potential smells rosy. They may even leapfrog over Samsung in Q4.2020, let’s see. As I’ve said before, looking into the longer term they are going to be squeezed at the bottom, middle and top of most of their sporty markets. Don’t be surprised to see Google-Fitbit back up higher on the watches chart (eventually)

[Opinion, End]

IDC data below, draw your own conclusions


Top 5 Wearable Device Companies by Shipment Volume, Market Share, and Year-Over-Year Growth, Q1 2020 (shipments in millions)


Company 1Q20 Shipments 1Q20 Market Share 1Q19 Shipments 1Q19 Market Share Year-Over-Year Growth
Apple 21.2 29.3% 13.3 23.7% 59.9%
Xiaomi 10.1 14.0% 6.5 11.6% 56.4%
Samsung 8.6 11.9% 5.0 9.0% 71.7%
Huawei 8.1 11.1% 5.0 8.9% 62.2%
Fitbit 2.2 3.0% 2.9 5.2% -26.1%
Others 22.3 30.8% 23.3 41.6% -4.0%
TOTAL 72.6 100.0% 56.0 100.0% 29.7%
Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, May 2020


Top 5 Watch* Companies by Shipment Volume, Market Share, and Year-Over-Year Growth, Q1 2020 (shipments in millions)
Company 1Q20 Shipments 1Q20 Market Share 1Q19 Shipments 1Q19 Market Share Year-Over-Year Growth
Apple 4.5 26.8% 4.6 25.4% -2.2%
Huawei 2.6 15.2% 1.2 6.4% 118.5%
Samsung 1.8 10.8% 2.0 10.8% -7.2%
Garmin 1.3 7.5% 1.0 5.3% 31.7%
Huami 1.0 5.8% 0.5 3.0% 80.2%
Others 5.7 33.9% 8.9 49.0% -35.7%
TOTAL 16.9 100.0% 18.2 100.0% -7.1%
Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, May 2020

* IDC Note: Watch includes both Basic Watches and Smart Watches. Basic watches incorporate a microprocessor, are capable of digitally processing data, and have wireless connectivity, but do not run third-party applications. Smart watches meet all four requirements.


Source: IDC

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