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Wearables Market Falls for First Time Ever, IDC Says

Despite gains by Apple and Imagine Marketing, shipments of wearable devices fell in the first quarter of 2022 as demand normalizes.

Samsung's next watches will be running a new OS developed with Google. There'll be a Fitbit app, too.

Quarterly global shipments of wearable smart devices have declined for the first time ever, according to a Tuesday report by International Data Corporation. Overall shipments of smartwatches, earbuds, glasses and other wearables totaled roughly 105.3 million units in the first quarter of 2022, a 3% drop year over year. 

Xiaomi, Huawei and Samsung experienced the largest losses, with growth declining 23.8%, 10.8% and 9.9%, respectively. IDC attributed the declining interest to "cooling demand ... following years of precipitous growth that were further amplified during the pandemic."

Despite the overall year-over-year decline, Apple enjoyed gains of 6.6%, largely due to increased Apple Watch sales, while shipments of AirPods remained flat, IDC said. Imagine Marketing also saw growth, of 5.8%, thanks largely to its heavy presence in India, but total shipments were still behind Xaiomi, Huawei and Samsung. 

News of the decline in wearables shipments comes after the industry experienced record numbers in the first quarter just a year ago. In the first quarter of 2021, shipments totaled 108.6 million units (updated from the previously reported 104.6 million units), marking the best quarter ever for wearables and the first time shipments surpassed 100 million units. The 105.3 million shipments in the first quarter of 2022 show that the market may be plateauing, but the numbers still indicate a strong demand for wearable technology.