Apple's stranglehold on wearables market continued in Q1

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in General Discussion
New research shows Apple extended an already significant lead in the wearables market during the first quarter of 2020 on the back of strong demand for AirPods and Beats products.

AirPods Pro


According to estimates from IDC, Apple shipped 21.2 million Apple Watch, AirPods and Beats units during the three month period ending in March to capture 29.3% of the market. That figure is up a whopping 59.9% from 13.3 million units shipped in the year-ago quarter.

IDC believes Apple Watch shipments declined during the period, but the slowdown was offset by increased interest in AirPods and Beats headphones. The estimated dip in Apple Watch sales runs contrary to strong numbers seen in a report from Strategy Analytics earlier this month.

"Consumers were clamoring for these sophisticated earpieces not only for the ability to playback audio but also to help them increase productivity, as many of them were forced to work from home and sought ways to reduce surrounding noise while staying connected to their smartphones and smart assistants," said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC Mobile Device Trackers.

Second place Xiaomi also saw growth with shipments of 10.1 million units for a 14% slice of the market, up 56.4% year-over-year.

Samsung, Huawei and Fitbit followed with a respective 8.6 million, 8.1 million and 2.2 million shipments during the quarter to take 11.9%, 11.1% and 3% of the market.

All top-five companies exhibited increased marketshare save for Fitbit, which dipped 26.1% from the year prior. The firm banks almost exclusively on sales of its wearable health tracking devices.

It should be noted that IDC and other research firms lack clear insight into Apple's supply chain and have in the past been criticized for publishing largely incorrect estimates. Apple, however, no longer provides unit sales in its quarterly reports, leaving a void filled by third-party companies or independent analysts.

Apple in a quarterly conference call for its second fiscal quarter of 2020 said its wearables division is bringing in revenues equivalent to a Fortune 140 company. The segment earned $6.3 billion during the quarter, up from $5.1 billion in 2019. Wearables, together with Apple's services arm, helped buoy earnings as other segments suffered due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    chasmchasm Posts: 3,337member
    For all the lower-cost AirPod pretenders that get sold (which range from awful to adequate at best) -- there's a reason why Apple continues to do well in this and almost every market in which it competes: many consumers recognize originality, high-quality engineering, good workmanship, and Apple's goals in making the things it does.

    In many ways, the main thing stopping people who choose other platforms/devices is that Apple doesn't cater to the lower end of the market, which is what they can afford in their present situation. But I think most people understand that truly high-quality stuff costs real money (and allows for real profit so the makers can continue). The clever way Apple is able to dance along the line between luxury brand and mainstream brand is at the core of its success.
    firelockF_Kent_Dcaladanian
  • Reply 2 of 7
    geekmeegeekmee Posts: 631member
    Apple redefines ‘Doomed’ once again.
  • Reply 3 of 7
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    No surprise to me. I'm one of the customers who helped drive up the numbers as I bought a wearable in Q1.
    F_Kent_D
  • Reply 4 of 7
    bestkeptsecretbestkeptsecret Posts: 4,270member

    I've paid more for my AirPods Pro than for HomePods and I still think it was worth it.

    I've never had a problem with the original AirPods staying in my ear. The AirPods Pro only make it better and provide great sound isolation. I love the output quality.

    Now that I'm working from home, I've switched to listening to music on my HomePods pair a lot more than my AirPods Pro, but nothing beats the AirPods when wanting to listen to music and not disturb anyone else around.

    edited May 2020 F_Kent_D
  • Reply 5 of 7
    imatimat Posts: 211member
    Not the wisest wording for a title, given the moment. Good and unsurprising news though.

    I have seen countless video call interviews in news segments recently and, almost all of them, had some sort of apple product in them, mostly AirPods.
    F_Kent_Dcaladanian
  • Reply 6 of 7
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,750member
    chasm said:
    For all the lower-cost AirPod pretenders that get sold (which range from awful to adequate at best) -- there's a reason why Apple continues to do well in this and almost every market in which it competes: many consumers recognize originality, high-quality engineering, good workmanship, and Apple's goals in making the things it does.

    In many ways, the main thing stopping people who choose other platforms/devices is that Apple doesn't cater to the lower end of the market, which is what they can afford in their present situation. But I think most people understand that truly high-quality stuff costs real money (and allows for real profit so the makers can continue). The clever way Apple is able to dance along the line between luxury brand and mainstream brand is at the core of its success.
    YMMV may vary due to price sensitivity and preference. There are some very bad options out there and some very good options too that go way past 'adequate'. Some of them even come in at lower price points than Apple and have offered better technological options also (lower latency, higher bandwidth, BT 5.1, bone sensors, AI enhancements to voice clarity, ability to 'tune' noise cancelation to what works for your hearing etc).

    I've spoken to a few people who picked up some of the cheapest options and the units were fine for what they needed them for. 

    In all cases though, the one seemingly universal trait is that no matter what the price, the units are basically disposable. I think that has to change or a big sticker should inform users that the batteries are not user replaceable. This is a situation that the vast majority are unaware of at purchase time.

    On the subject of pricing, Airpods start at $159 and the Apple Watch at $199 which are definitely accesible to most people. There are cheaper options out there of course and Apple virtually hides the Series 3 from view to nudge you to the more recent offerings but ASPs are coming down in wearables.

    This is what IDC had to say in December 2019.

    "While companies such as Xiaomi have focused on reducing costs by commoditization, market leaders like Apple that typically focus on the premium segment are also playing a crucial role in lowering prices. With a starting price of $199 for the Series 3, Apple is bound to put pressure on other smartwatch makers to make their devices more wallet-friendly"

    It's wise not to avoid lower cost offerings while going as high as you wish on the premium side of things. 
    edited May 2020 dewmemuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 7 of 7
    F_Kent_DF_Kent_D Posts: 98unconfirmed, member
    imat said:
    Not the wisest wording for a title, given the moment. Good and unsurprising news though.

    I have seen countless video call interviews in news segments recently and, almost all of them, had some sort of apple product in them, mostly AirPods.
    I’ve noticed the same. In the end, that’s nothing but free advertisement. 
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