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Apple Watch, AirPods dominate wearables market

Apple Watch Series 9

Apple continues to top the wearables market, but it has lost some ground with Apple Watch and AirPods shipments declining year-on-year.

The Apple Watch and AirPods lines are hugely popular in the wearables category of products. Thanks to continued demand, Apple is still top of the food chain in the market, according to IDC’s figures.

Released on June 4, wearable device shipment figures have grown for the market as a whole.With 113.1 million shipments in the first quarter of 2024, the market has seen an 8.8% year-on-year growth spurt.

However, IDC adds that the market is negatively hit by average selling prices declining for the fifth quarter in a row.

On a per-company basis, Apple is in the lead with 20.6 million shipments in the first quarter of 2024. This is down from the 25.4 million observed in the same quarter one year prior, making it an 18.9% contraction.

The lower shipments means that Apple’s market share has shrunk over the course of a year, from 24.5% to 18.2%.

The nearest rival is Xiaomi with 11.8 million shipments and a 10.5% market share.

Bar chart showing market share of top 5 wearable companies from 2023Q1 to 2024Q1, with Apple, Xiaomi, Huawei, Samsung, Imagine Marketing, and Others categories.

Worldwide wearables shipments for Q1 2024 [IDC]

IDC explains that Apple was held back by “poor macroeconomic conditions.” Apple’s US sales ban of the Apple Watch also apparently caused problems, as did the lack of new AirPods.

It is claimed that Apple Watch shipments dipped 19.1% year-on-year, while AirPods and items from subsidiary Beats went down 18.8%.

“The lack of major innovation in the premium segment has allowed tier-2 brands to narrow the gap across the board,” offers IDC research manager Jitesh Ubrani. It seems consumers will likely gravitate towards the mid-range and value price points, Ubrani continues, unless new sensors or algorithms are introduced to track new data points, such as glucose or blood pressure.

Analyst reports are often based on supply chain surveys and other unofficial data sources. However, Apple’s Q2 2024 financial results do help prove the figures to be fairly accurate, since Apple’s Wearables, Home, and Accessories income dipped 9.9% to $7.9 billion.