AirPods and Apple WatchSource: iMore

What you need to know

  • A report says wearables growth may slow this year due to COVID-19.
  • That's according to ABI research.
  • They say that growth will slow to just 5% this year, down from 28% last year.

New research from ABI research suggests that COVID-19 will slow down the growth of wearables for three fairly obvious reasons.

As reported by 9to5Mac, a new Mobile Accessories and Wearables Market Share and Forecasts report notes that wearables sales and shipments are expected to suffer for three reasons:

  1. People need smartwatches less because people are spending more time at home, and aren't exercising as much.
  2. Plenty of people have lost their jobs or are on lower-income, so they don't have the disposable income to buy tech products.
  3. Even people who haven't lost their jobs "may be nervous about their financial future."

ABI predicts these factors will combine to slow down wearables growth to as little as 5% this year, compared to 28% the year before:

Wearable shipments in 2020 are now expected to be 254 million, down from the previously forecasted 281 million, states ABI Research, a global tech market advisory firm. Although a significant drop, this new COVID-19 impacted forecast is a minor increase from the 241 million shipments in 2019. However, this now puts the estimated YoY increase at 5%, compared to 23% between 2018 and 2019, and the previously expected 17%.

The only saving grace for wearables is the shipment of devices that track healthcare vitals, which have reportedly lowered the impact. Looking ahead, ABI says that new features such as blood oxygen tracking may buoy the sales of wearables featuring advanced health monitoring in the second half of 2020 and into 2021. As we recover from the pandemic, they estimate that total global wearables shipments may hit 329 million units by 2022.