IDC nailed it. Pulling back to look at global wearables market production and forecasts adds perspective when we write about new and emerging digital health technologies. We pay particular attention to periodic reports from established research firms such International Data Corporation (IDC), Gartner, and IDTechEX. Back in 2020, IDC forecast double-digit growth for the wearables shipments through 2024. When IDC released the Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker report covering Q4 2021 and for the full year 2021, the latest numbers bear out the company’s earlier prediction.

According to IDC, worldwide wearables shipments in the fourth quarter 2021 totaled 171 million units, a 10.8% increase from Q4 2020. Full year 2020 wearables shipments totaled 533.6 million units, up 20.0% from 2020. IDC reports more than just gross numbers, however. IDC also names the top 5 wearable device companies by shipment volume and market share, For both 2020 and 2021, the wearables companies that shipped the largest number of devices were Apple, Xiaomi, Samsung, Huawei, and Imagine Marketing.

Apple continued its market dominance thanks to the Series 7 Apple Watch and the AirPods 3 launch. Xiaomi’s shipment numbers dipped for wristbands, but the firm’s smart watches and hearables kept Xiaomi in second place. Smartwatches also supported Samsung’s third position in market share thanks to the launch of the Galaxy Watch 4 Series. International shipments, especially shipments to Europe, helped Huawei retain its fourth place standing while the Imagine Marketing Boat brand rounded out the Top 5 with its high-value low-cost hearables and watches in India’s fast-growing market.

The research firm also shares insight into the relative growth of wearables product classes. As both IDC and Gartner forecast in late 2021, hearables shipments dominate the category, making up almost two-thirds of the global wearables market. The demand for health and fitness tracking devices also continue to drive shipments. Extra features and greater opportunities for customization prompt consumers to buy smartwatches more than wristband devices, IDC reports. Other categories that made the summary of the quarterly market report include rings, connected shoes, and glasses.

If you want further information on the latest IDC Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, you can download a Factsheet or purchase the entire report.