Earwear Proves to Be a Bright Spot in Middle East & Africa Wearables Market as COVID-19 Restrictions Fuel Demand

  • By ; Wasem Emam

    Shipments of wearable devices across the Middle East and Africa (MEA) declined 2.7% year on year (YoY) in Q2 2020 to total 2.0 million units, according to International Data Corporation (IDC) and its latest Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker. This follows an extremely buoyant first quarter of the year, when shipments were up 97.4% YoY at 3.0 million units.

    IDC's research shows that smart wearables were responsible for the overall decline in Q2 2020 due to their high average selling prices (ASPs). Meanwhile, basic wearables saw a slight increase in shipments thanks to sustained demand in the basic watch and wristband categories.

    "The overall wearables market is expected to growth healthily through the second half of 2020 and the next few years, spurred by pent-up demand, growing consumer interest, and the introduction of new models," says Zeynep Kilic, a program manager at IDC. "The so-called 'hearables' category was seemingly resilient to the market-suppressing forces caused by COVID-19 and will be the main driver of total wearables growth in H2 2020 and the whole of 2021."

    Wristbands continue to dominate the MEA wearables market, accounting for 46.6% share of all shipments in Q2 2020. The second-largest category was earwear, with 33.3% share.  Xiaomi continued its domination of the wristband segment, with 63.8% unit share. Huawei and Fitbit ranked second and third in this category.

    After enjoying an extremely strong Q1 2020, earwear shipments are expected to continue growing through the coming quarters, supported by the rise in home learning and remote working caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. "Consumers are increasingly using earpieces not only to playback audio but also to help increase their productivity," says Kilic. "Since many of them have been forced to work from home, they are now looking for ways to reduce surrounding noise while remaining connected to their smartphones and smart assistants."

    Apple maintained its position at the top of the region's earwear segment in Q2 2020, with 50.3% unit share and 64.3% value share, thanks to the ongoing success of its Airpods model. Samsung placed second with 33.0% unit share and 25.2% value share, recording a significant YoY increase after shipping 98,000 units of its Galaxy Buds+ to the region in Q2 2020.

    Apple also maintained its lead of the MEA smart watch segment in Q2 2020 after shipping large volumes of Series 5 devices to the region. Huawei placed first in the basic watch segment courtesy of its strong-performing Watch GT2 model.

    حمّل تطبيق جريدة عالم رقمي الآن