Wearables Market Sees First Dip in Early 2022 as Demand Normalizes, IDC Says


NEEDHAM, Mass., June 7, 2022 – The global wearables market saw its first-ever decline during the first quarter of 2022 (1Q22) as unit shipments totaled 105.3 million units, down 3.0% year-on-year on the other, according to new data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker. The decline is largely attributable to cooling demand as consumers begin to spend more on categories other than wearables after years of meteoric growth that have been further amplified during the pandemic.

Despite the overall decline, not all wearable categories suffered the same fate. Hearing aids, the largest category in terms of share, declined slightly with growth of just 0.6%. Hearables has also seen one of the biggest booms in the industry as work-from-home and home-learning activities have led to a surge in demand which has now declined from the peak caused by the pandemic. Wristbands, the frontrunners in the wearables category, fell 40.5% as supply shortages and lower demand combined to hamper growth. On the positive side, watches grew by 9.1% during the period and took 28% of the overall market share.

“Consumers are becoming more health conscious and with more pricing options, there seems to be a watch available for everyone,” said Jitesh Ubrani, research director for IDC Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers. “Competition is also on the rise as smaller brands ramp up their basic health and fitness tracking watches at the lower end, and as Google, Samsung and other Wear OS partners finally become more competitive with Apple at the high end.”

“The demand for cooling will force companies to further differentiate themselves,” noted Ramon T. Llamas, research director, Mobile Devices and AR/VR at IDC. “As most features become more common among different devices, businesses will need to convince customers to upgrade to best-in-class experiences, knowing that there are many alternatives available. This will require new hardware, software and services that both surprise and delight, and retain customers.”

1Q22 Company Highlights

  • Apple managed to grow 6.6% year-over-year in the quarter driven by Apple Watch performance, with the Apple Watch SE showing surprising resilience (over 2 million units shipped) for a device that is over a year and a half old. Meanwhile, AirPods shipments were flat in the quarter as the company faced increased competition from low-cost products.
  • Samsung second even though its unit shipments fell by almost 10% compared to last year. Samsung has generally relied on strong smartphone sales to consolidate wearables (especially hearing aids) in many markets. Like Apple, the company was not immune to competition from low-cost vendors and the large number of brands offering hearing aids. The added competition combined with slowing smartphone sales led to lower shipments of hearing aids. Wristbands also decreased with the overall category. However, the latest Galaxy Watch 4 series remains popular, with the company’s watch shipments increasing 32.7% in the quarter.
  • from Xiaomi the decline is solely due to weakness in the wristband category. That said, the company continues to make progress in watches and hearing aids and uses the same low-cost, high-value strategy.
  • Huawei maintained fourth position even though overall shipments fell 10.8% in the quarter. The company remains heavily focused on the local Chinese market, although its presence in Europe has grown over time. That said, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has put strong downward pressure on the European market, so Huawei’s sales in the region could be negatively affected in the coming quarters.
  • Imagine Marketing again maintained its position in the global top 5 due to its strong presence in India, although it may be seeing early signs of saturation, with hearing aid growth down 3.8% in the quarter. As a result, the company has increased its presence in the watch category, although overall shipments remain well below 1 million units.

Top 5 wearable device companies by shipment volume, market share and year-over-year growth, Q1 2022 (shipments in millions)


1Q22 shipments

1Q22 market share

1Q21 deliveries

Market share in 1Q21

Year-over-year growth

1. Apple












3. Xiaomi












5. Imagine Marketing


















Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, June 7, 2022.

About IDC Trackers

IDC Tracker products provide accurate and timely market size, vendor share, and forecasts for hundreds of technology markets in more than 100 countries around the world. Using proprietary research tools and processes, IDC Trackers are updated semi-annually, quarterly, and monthly. Tracking results are delivered to clients in user-friendly Excel deliverables and online query tools.

For more information on IDC’s quarterly wearable device tracker, please contact Kathy Nagamine at 650-350-6423 or knagamine@idc.com.

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International Data Corporation (IDC) is the world’s leading provider of business information, consulting services and events for the information technology, telecommunications and consumer technology markets. With more than 1,200 analysts worldwide, IDC offers global, regional, and local expertise on IT technology, benchmarking, and procurement, as well as industry opportunities and trends in more than 110 countries. IDC’s analysis and insight helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community make fact-based technology decisions and achieve their key business goals. Founded in 1964, IDC is a wholly owned subsidiary of International Data Group (IDG), the global leader in technology media, data and marketing services. To learn more about IDC, visit www.idc.com. Follow IDC on Twitter at @IDC and LinkedIn. Subscribe to the IDC-Blog for industry news and insights.

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