2020 might be a year that most of us want to forget, but it certainly seems to have been memorable for the wearables market in India. According to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, the Indian market was one of the fastest-growing markets in the world in terms of wearables in 2020. The report also gave details of performing of different products and brands in the year as well as in the last quarter of the year. Here are the highlights:

indian wearables market records explosive growth in 2020 - boat

Three figure growth!

The Indian wearables market grew by a staggering 144.3 percent in 2020 as compared to 2019, closing the year with shipments of 36.4 million units. India was the only country in the top twenty of the world to record three figure growth in the year. Of course, this could also partly be because of a smaller installed base, we think.

Threefold growth for earwear

The report says that what it terms earwear grew more than threefold in 2020 compared to the previous year. This was mainly because of more affordable options becoming available, and also because demand for such devices rose as virtual meetings and e-learning became the rule in Covid times.

TWS grows tenfold!

The truly wireless earphone (TWS) segment however recorded crazy level growth. The number of TWS shipped increased tenfold – yes, TENFOLD – in 2020, with shipments totalling 11.3 million units. And IDC analyst said that this increase was also due to “price corrections” with vendors launching TWS at much more affordable prices. The average selling price of TWS was USD 110 in 2019. This came down to USD 45 in 2020.

Earwear dominates wearables market

Earwear comprised 83.6 percent of all wearables shipped in 2020. Fitness trackers followed this with 9.2 percent and watches with 7.3 percent (yes, we know that adds up to 100.1 percent, but we guess there was some rounding off done!).

Boat is the king of earwear…

indian wearables market records explosive growth in 2020 - boat airdopes 441 review 3

Indian brand Boat was the biggest player in the earwear market. The brand accounted for as many as one-third of the shipments in the category. This was more than twice of what Samsung accounted for in second place at 14.5 percent, and this was when Samsung’s share included JBL, Harman Kardon and Infinity.

…and the boss of TWS

Boat was also the leader in TWS, with a share of 24.6 percent. Realme took second place with 13.5 percent – impressive when you consider the brand entered the segment only in late 2019.

Watches clock a rise

Watches recorded a 139.3 percent growth in 2020, running up 2.6 million units in shipments. Of these, smartwatches, which IC distinguishes as those that can run third-party applications, comprised 24.5 percent.

Noise leads watches

indian wearables market records explosive growth in 2020 - noise smartwatch

In watches, Noise was the leader with a 24.5 percent market share. The second spot went to Realme, which got a 15.7 percent share, despite just having entered the segment in 2020 only.

Apple dominates smartwatches

It might have some of the most expensive smartwatches in the business, but that has not stopped Apple from ruling the smartwatch category. Indeed, in 2020, almost every second smartwatch shipped in India was an Apple Watch – the brand had a 51 percent share of the Indian smartwatch market in 2020.

Wristbands slip off

At one stage, they were one of the most important parts of the wearables equation, but 2020 saw wristbands in decline. Their share fell by 34.4 percent, and they shipped 3.3 million units. This is the first year in which this category has witnessed a decline, and the report attributes this to the popularity of watches, and also their availability at similar prices.

Xiaomi rules wristbands

indian wearables market records explosive growth in 2020 - xiaomi mi band 5

Xiaomi was the leader in the wristband segment with a 46.7 percent market share. Realme was a distant second with a 12.3 percent share – but once again, this was an impressive performance from a brand that entered the field in 2020.

Massive Q4 for wearables

The last quarter of 2020 was a very good one for wearables, with 15.19 million units being shipped, as compared to just 5.01 million in Q4 2019. Earwear comprised 85.4 percent, recording a whopping growth of 301 percent year on year, while watches surprisingly grabbed second spot with 8.8 percent share (shipping more than a million units for the first time in a quarter), overtaking wristbands whose share fell from 28.4 percent in Q4 2019 to a mere 5.8 percent in Q4 2020. Interestingly, “others” which comprised 1.3 percent of the market in Q4 2019 went totally missing in Q4 2020.

A bright future for watches

As per the Associate Research Manager, Client Devices: “2020 was a year of transition in the audio segment from wired to wireless devices. In 2021, this category will further migrate to more sophisticated devices with enhanced audio experience being the central theme for all vendors…The high cost associated with wearable watches is not much of a challenge anymore. Also, the watch form factor is now seen as more appealing to the consumers, and vendors will leverage this shift by further expanding their watches portfolio in coming quarters”.

Time for others to watch out, we think!

Note: In IDC’s definition, for an ear-worn device to be considered wearable under the earwear or hearables category, it must offer functionality beyond audio, like a smart assistant, health and fitness tracking, audio experience enhancement, or language translation.

Wearable devices that are in the form of a watch and capable of processing the data digitally are considered in the watch category, and it excludes the traditional analog and digital watches.

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