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Global Shipments Of Wearables Climb 8.8% In Q1 2024

Worldwide shipments of wearables was estimated at 113.1 million units in the first quarter of this year, an 8.8 per cent increase compared to the corresponding period last year.

According to the data shared by the International Data Corporation (IDC), it showed Apple secured the top position, although its growth says IDC was somewhat constrained by poor macroeconomic conditions, a temporary ban on certain watch models, and the lack of newer AirPods. Overall, Apple Watch shipments declined 19.1 per cent year-on-year while hearables including AirPods and Beats declined 18.8 per cent during the quarter.

Xiaomi ranked second with an impressive 43.4 per cent year-on-year growth, its numbers helped by the fact that it saw a 16 per cent decline in the first quarter of 2023. The company’s re-entry into Wear OS watches resulted in it becoming the third largest vendor within the Google ecosystem and grow its overall smartwatch average selling prices.

Huawei came in the third spot, surpassing Samsung, thanks to the return of its smartphone business, which had a positive impact on wearables due to bundling. However, the company’s sales are mainly concentrated in China with about three quarters coming from the region.

Samsung slipped into fourth place. The launch of the Galaxy Fit 3 as well as success with lower-priced hearables helped the company achieve market-beating growth although its core smartwatch volume declined 5.1 per cent during the quarter.

Indian brand Imagine Marketing (boAt) rounded out the top five. Known for its extremely competitively priced products, it managed to grow its hearables volume by 17.5 per cent but its smartwatches saw a significant decline of 61.3 per cent due to fierce competition within its home country.

Importantly, the IDC noted that the average selling prices declined for the fifth quarter in a row, dropping 11 per cent in Q1 2024.

It attributed this to shipments to emerging markets gaining traction and the overall state of the global economy putting downward pressure on consumer spending.

“The lack of major innovation in the premium segment has allowed tier-2 brands to narrow the gap across the board,” said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager, Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers. “Until we get to a point where new sensors or algorithms enable prescriptive insights or the tracking of new data points such as blood pressure or glucose, consumers will likely gravitate towards the mid-to-value price points and this is where brands have continued to invest by diversifying their pricing ladders.”

Ramon T. Llamas, research director with IDC’s Wearables team, added that the focus was gradually shifting from large international players to smaller, regional vendors. “The appetite for wearables is not lost on emerging markets, but higher prices on wearables from premium brands make them cost prohibitive for many. That has opened the door for local brands to introduce low-cost yet feature-laden devices to meet this unsatiated demand. That’s how companies like Xiaomi and Imagine Marketing have established positions among the top vendors worldwide.”