The global wearables market put in a strong performance in 2021, achieving volume growth of 28%, according to a new market report from Futuresource Consulting. Flurries of activity across the year resulted in 488 million units shipped, resulting in $73 billion in retail value.
“Despite the successes of last year, 2022 has yet to measure up to its promise,” says Guy Hammett, Senior Market Analyst, Futuresource Consulting. “We’ve seen a slew of setbacks. The ongoing chip shortage continues to make its presence felt, along with a raft of broader supply side issues, as well as some macroeconomic uncertainties. Regardless of these challenges, we still expect to see growth this year.”
“There’s a real buzz across the wearables industry; a sense of excitement surrounding its longer-term future. Wearables are reaching a tipping point, and they’ll soon become the absolute must-have devices in most of the major economies around the world.”
Apple headed up the wearables charge in 2021, dominating both wrist-worn and hearable segments, and accounting for more than one in every four device purchases. The tech giant has commanded the lion’s share of these two key markets for some time. It’s also ahead of its rivals in terms of creating a wider ecosystem of complementary products and services.
Apple’s closest rivals, Xiaomi, Samsung and Huawei all have a single-digit share, and are the only other vendors with more than 5% share of the market.
“The wrist-worn segment saw year-on-year growth across all regions,” says Hammett. “Our research shows that APAC is now closing in on 50%, casting a long shadow across the traditionally large markets of North America and Western Europe. These two regions account for a combined 41.5%, albeit with far higher penetration rates.
“APAC, excluding China, is rising fast. It saw extraordinary regional volume growth of more than 20%, with India seeing a big boost from low-priced smartwatch-style sports watches last year. This is almost entirely driven by local brands, most prominently Noise and BoAT. Most sales are coming in below the $60 mark, and these local brands have seized more than 70% of the market share.
“China took second position in terms of market growth, with consumer trends playing out in a similar way to India. However, China is ahead of India in its adoption of wrist-worn wearables, and therefore its growth rates are lower.”
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