Where are wearables going in 2020?
Apple has throttled the competition in another category.
During the company’s recent earnings call, CEO Tim Cook noted the company’s wearable division now rivals the size of a Fortune 500 company. He failed to give more specifics, but the point is striking: between Apple Watch and AirPods, Cupertino has another juggernaut on its hands.
Apple’s wearable fortunes come from two distinct sub-categories: more mature wrist-worn devices that include smartwatches and wearable trackers (and all of the overlap therein) and fully wireless earbuds or “hearables,” as they’re sometimes known.
I’m pulling IDC numbers from December for the latest, but these seem to mostly comport with what I’ve been seeing from firms over the past year. Apple’s on top with a little more than a third of total global market share — nearly 200 percent growth over the prior year. That’s thanks in no small part to the addition of AirPods Pro to the mix. Though getting back to Apple’s recent earnings, Cook notes that three-quarters of Apple Watch purchases in the previous quarter were by people who were buying the device for the first time. So there’s plenty of growth there, as well.
Xiaomi is at a distant number two with around 15 percent of the market. That’s still a commanding presence, as the company has expanded into new markets (mostly in Europe) with devices that undercut the competition. Samsung found success at around 10 percent of the global market with its diversification (watches, earbuds and fitness trackers), while Huawei maintained a strong presence in China with 80 percent of its total shipments in its home country as it struggles with other issues abroad.