AirPods grew faster than Apple Watch in the second quarter of 2020

Apple Watch and AirPods
Apple Watch and AirPods (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • AirPods and Apple Watch continue to grow while the smartwatch market declines.
  • Apple's headphones business has actually grown faster than its smartwatch.
  • The overall market for smartwatches has declined in the second quarter of 2020.

In a new report from analytics firm IDC, the wearables market grew 14.1% in the second quarter of 2020. According to the report, the growth was "unevenly spread across the various form factors" like smartwatches, fitness trackers, and headphones.

David Myhrer, research vice president for IDC's Consumer Technology Strategy Service, says that "hearables" have actually outpaced smartwatches and fitness trackers in growth.

"Hearables show much stronger and broader demand than smartwatches and fitness trackers," said David Myhrer, research vice president for IDC's Consumer Technology Strategy Service. According to data from IDC's U.S Consumer Technology Purchase Index survey, self-reported consumer spend in the U.S. on hearables built throughout the quarter and into July, up 7% over the April benchmark. Comparable self-reported spend on smartwatches and fitness trackers was down by about a third.

According to the report, Apple led the growth of hearables, shipping approximately 23.7 million AirPods and Beats headphones.

Hearables grew 32.6% and accounted for 60% of all wearables during the quarter. Apple led the charge here as it managed to ship 23.7 million Airpods and Beats products, followed by Samsung and Xiaomi. This category continues to be dominated by smartphone brands as the opportunity to bundle remains high while traditional headphone makers such as Sony, Bose, Jabra, and others rank lower but focus on the premium end of the market. Earworn wearables continue to be popular as people work/learn from home and require hearables to maintain privacy while remaining connected with their various devices and services.

The Apple Watch also saw 13.7% growth in a smartwatch and fitness band market that declined by 4,4% year over year.

Watches and Wristbands represented 39.2% of all shipments, down from 46.8% in the second quarter of 2019. Combined, shipments for these devices declined 4.4% from last year and totaled 33.7 million units. The top vendors – Apple, Huawei, and Xiaomi – gained share and dominance while many other vendors struggled to convince consumers that these devices are "must haves" during an economic downturn. That said, there have been signs of positivity as some brands, such as Fitbit, invest in disease detection while others, such as Samsung, have deployed wearables to track physical distance between wearers in order to encourage social distancing.

Apple is expected to launch the Apple Watch Series 6, which might be able to monitor your blood oxygen levels, as soon as September alongside a new iPad.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.