AirPods helped Apple stay king of the wearables in Q1 2020

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Earphones
AirPods made up for some of the Apple Watch shortfall in Q1.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple remains the king of the wearables, according to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, published Thursday. In total, the analytics firm claims that total device shipments for all wearables hit 72.6 million in the first three months of 2020. Of these, Apple shipped 21.2 million units.

Apple Watch remains the world’s no. 1 smart watch by a wide margin. However, shipments declined as a result of coronavirus-related challenges in the supply chain. Nonetheless, the continuing might of Apple’s AirPods — helped by Apple’s Beats “hearables” — was more than enough to offset the decline.

According to IDC, Apple claimed a 29.3% of the overall wearables market. In terms of smart watches alone, it shipped an estimated 4.5 million Apple Watches during the quarter. That makes up 26.8% of the overall digital and smart watch industry.

IDC: Apple is ruling the wearables roost

IDC doesn’t break down the split between AirPods and its Beats hearables for the quarter. However, these numbers certainly tally with previous reports. Last year, Apple is estimated to have sold close to 60 million AirPods wireless headphones. The year before, it sold 35 million. If that trajectory keeps going, it’s easily believable that Apple could have sold anywhere up to 16.7 million AirPods in the quarter.

“The hearables category was seemingly resilient to the market-suppressing forces caused by COVID-19,” said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC Mobile Device Trackers. “Consumers were clamouring for these sophisticated earpieces not only for the abilty to playback audio but also to help them increase productivity, as many of them were forced to work from home and sought ways to reduce surrounding noise while staying connected to their smartphones and smart assistants.”

After Apple, Chinese company Xiaomi is in second place when it comes to wearables. The company shipped 10.1 million units in Q1 2020. Huawei is also making waves with its smart watches — having shipped 2.6 million in the quarter — a massive 118.5% increase from this time last year.