Global shipments of wearable devices returned to growth in the second quarter of 2023 after two quarters of decline. The IDC reported that the market grew by 8.5% year over year with shipments reaching 116.3 million devices.
The increase in shipments was mainly due to a decrease in average selling prices caused by increased competition and an effort by retailers to reduce their excess inventory. In the last year, the competition also increased from smaller companies and there was an increase in shipments of less well-known wearable products such as rings.
Commenting on this phenomenon, Jitch Oberani, director of research, mobility and consumer devices at IDC, said:
“While fitness tracking, such as steps taken and distance run, has been helpful in capturing the mainstream audience, many consumers are now demanding a more holistic approach to health tracking, paving the way for features such as sleep monitoring, recovery metrics, grade readiness and tracking stress levels.
This is where smaller brands, such as Oura, Whoop and Withings, have managed to create a niche, although many big brands and some local companies are closely monitoring this space and are expected to launch products in the coming months.’
In forecasting the future, IDC said 520 million wearables will ship this year, up 5.6% from 2022. Of that, hearing is the top category representing 62% of wearable shipments. After that, smart watches account for 32% of shipments. By the end of 2027, IDC believes shipments will reach 625.4 million, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.7%.
In terms of which categories saw the biggest year-over-year growth, smartwatches dominated with 11.3% growth, others came second with 6.8% growth, headphones grew 4.5%, and bracelets fell 8.8%.
The top five brands are Apple, Xiaomi, Imagine Marketing, Huawei and Samsung. Apple was head and shoulders above the competition in terms of unit market share.