The strong momentum in the watch and earwear categories led to the highest ever first-quarter wearables shipments in India.
The India wearables market grew by 170.3% year-over-year (YoY) in the first quarter of 2021, shipping 11.4 million units according to the recent data from the International Data Corp.’s (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker. The strong momentum in the watch and earwear categories led to the highest ever first-quarter shipments in India. Watches grew by 463.8% YoY in Q1 2021 to become the fastest-growing category in wearables, replacing earwear which also maintains a triple-digit growth. The overall wristwear category, which includes wrist bands and watches, grew 74.8% YoY in this quarter, further establishing the importance of fitness and health tracking devices in the country.
However, shipments for overall wearables fell by 24.9% sequentially in Q1 2021, owing primarily to a drop in earwear shipments. Following three-quarters of tremendous growth, the earwear category experienced a quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) decline of 28.6% in Q1. This decline can be primarily attributed to the leftover inventory with channel partners as it restricted the fresh buying in this quarter.
“The ongoing consumer enthusiasm for earwear devices demonstrates the category’s healthy appetite. Vendors are trying to capitalize on the ride with low and mid-priced devices. This is not only helping lower the category’s ASP but also adding improved features to acquire new users,” said Anisha Dumbre, Market Analyst, IDC India.
Commenting on the offline expansion, Dumbre added, “The challenges faced by the offline channel due to pandemic had started to witness some normalcy, and vendors also explored the offline expansion as a crucial means to improve their businesses in both hearables and wristwear category. However, the onset of the second wave has again halted the retail sales as most of the key cities are going through lockdowns, further pushing the offline expansion of companies for the next two quarters.”
Product Category Highlights
The wristbands category saw a decline of 22.4% YoY in Q1, finishing the quarter with 760 thousand-unit shipments. The category also witnessed a sequential decline of 13.9% as the users continue to migrate to watches. Xiaomi maintained its lead with a 37.3% category share in this quarter. OnePlus, the new entrant in this category, finished second, replacing realme with a 25.2% share.
A total of 1.4 million watches were shipped in Q1 2021, the second quarter in a row to record over a million shipments for watches. Noise continued to lead the category with a 26.7% share, followed by BoAt with a 21.9% share in Q1 2021. Being just two-quarters old, with aggressive shipments, BoAT has emerged as a strong player in the watch category. With a surge of low-cost devices in the market, the ASP of the category fell to $88, down from $166 in Q1 2021. Moreover, the ASP of the category also declined by 31% from the previous quarter. This trend highlights that vendors are aggressively looking to capitalize on this market by introducing more affordable devices.
The earwear category grew by 209.3% YoY with 9.3 million shipments in the first quarter of the year. BoAt, with its multiple devices in its portfolio, continued to lead the overall earwear category with a 29.3% share, followed by OnePlus accounting for a 15.1% share in this category.
The Truly Wireless Stereo (TWS) category grew by 284.4% YoY with a 35% share in the overall earwear category. This is primarily due to market players focusing more on affordable devices, making TWS devices a popular choice for users. The ASP of the TWS devices further declined by 39.4% YoY in Q1 2021. This category was also led by BoAt with a 25.6% share and One Plus finished second with an 11.9% share in Q1 2021, mainly supported by OnePlus Buds Z.
“From style to health monitoring, the wearables have now become one of the most sophisticated devices in recent times. The category is witnessing a constant shift in the competitive landscape with new players entering the segment,” said Jaipal Singh, Associate Research Manager, Client Devices, IDC India. “The second wave of the pandemic has caused a sudden stir across vendors and channel partners, impacting the planned launches to postpone and delay in deliveries. However, over last year, the value of wearables has rapidly expanded, and hence, the demand for these devices is expected to continue strong in 2021.”