The global wearables market faced its first-ever decline during the first quarter of 2022 (1Q22) as unit shipments totaled 105.3 million units, down 3.0% year over year, according to new data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker. However, Apple bucked the trend.
The research group says the tech giant managed to grow 6.6% year-over-year during the quarter thanks to the performance of Apple Watches with the Apple Watch SE showing surprising resilience (over 2 million shipped) for a device that is more than one and half years old. Meanwhile, shipments of AirPods were flat during the quarter as the company faced more competition from low-cost products.
Samsung ranked second although its unit shipments dropped nearly 10% compared to last year. IDC says the decline in the global wearables market is “largely attributable to cooling demand as consumers begin to spend more in categories outside of wearables following years of precipitous growth that were further amplified during the pandemic.”
Despite the overall decline, not all wearable categories shared the same fate. IDC says that hearables, the largest category by share, declined slightly with growth down just 0.6%. Hearables also experienced one of the biggest booms in the industry as work-from-home and learn-from-home activity led to a sharp increase in demand that has now come down from the pandemic-driven high.
Wristbands, the pioneers of the wearables category, declined 40.5% as supply shortages and weaker demand combined to hamper growth. On the bright side, watches grew 9.1% during the period and grabbed 28% share of the overall market.