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Spotlight on wearables: Tech competitors will challenge Apple’s dominance

Apple towers over today’s smartwatch and hearable markets, and it’s well-positioned atop the smartphone market. 

  • AirPods will account for 31.1% of the US hearables market this year.
  • Apple Watch users will represent 46.2% of US smartwatch users.
  • IDC estimated that, globally, Apple had a 34.1% share of wearables shipments in 2020, including hearables, smartwatches, wristbands, smart glasses, and clothing—but not augmented or virtual reality (AR/VR) devices. In Q3 2021, that figure dipped to a still strong 28.8%.

Apple’s current dominance has led to major investments by other technology companies in smartwatches and hearables:

  • Google bought Fitbit and allied with Samsung on a major refresh of its wearables operating system Wear OS late last year.
  • Facebook is developing a smartwatch.
  • Amazon has Echo Buds.

Firms are also looking for the next breakthrough form factors. Today, competitors offer major products in connected clothing (Under Armour, Jacquard by Google), rings (Movano, Oura), and connected glasses (Snap’s Spectacles, Vuzix, Facebook’s Stories). Gartner predicts rapid growth in most of these areas, except wristbands.

Read the full report.