Even as the global smartphone market sees slow growth and stagnating shipment numbers, wearable gadgets are bucking the trends. Whether it's ear-worn products with some smart capabilities, wristbands, or smartwatches, the segment has been defying typical global trends in the gadgets and consumer electronics space. The wearables segment is growing at record pace in India, with 14.9 million units shipped in 2019 across various categories in the segment, according to a new report by research and analytics firm IDC India.
According to IDC India's estimates for its Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, about 14.9 million wearable gadgets were shipped in India in 2019. These devices include ear-worn devices, wristbands, and watches. Earwear - defined by IDC as a device offering functionality beyond audio, such as smart assistance, fitness tracking, or audio experience enhancements - led the way in the wearables space with 8.5 million shipments (57 percent of the segment). Wristbands such as fitness trackers had a market share of 35.3 percent, while smartwatches accounted for 6.3 percent of the total shipments.
While the overall market grew at 168 percent year-on-year, the ear-worn gadgets segment grew much faster at 443 percent year-on-year. This can be credited to the fact that many wireless earphones today come with some smart functionality; these devices usually feature easy access to voice assistants such as Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa. Boat Lifestyle, a popular audio brand in India, was the leading brand in the earwear category, with 27.3 percent market share.
Narrowing down to the popular true wireless earphones segment specifically, the report states that the Apple AirPods range led the space with a market share of 43.1 percent. Wrist bands saw healthy year-on-year growth of 52.6 percent, but are no longer the leading product type thanks to the massive growth of ear-worn gadgets. Xiaomi was the leader in the wristband space, with Titan's fledgling range of products coming in second.
About 933,000 smartwatches were shipped in India in 2019, with Fossil and Apple leading the way. The Fossil group markets smartwatches under its various brands, including Fossil, Diesel, and Skagen. Although expensive, the Apple Watch range was popular in India as well.