Wearable Device Shipments to Rebound and Drive Market Growth, IDC Forecasts

Global shipments of wearable devices, which experienced a decline in 2022, are set to recover and reach a total of 504.1 million units in 2023, according to data from IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker. This signifies a 2.4% year-over-year growth and marks the resurgence of the market, driven primarily by the continued popularity of earwear and smartwatches while other categories maintain stability. IDC predicts that the wearable device market will witness steady, single-digit growth in the coming years, with shipments expected to reach 629.4 million units in 2027, resulting in a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.0%.

Top 5 Wearable Device Product Categories by Shipment Volume, Market Share, and 2022-2027 CAGR (shipments in millions)
Product2023 Shipments2023 Market Share2027 Shipments2027 Market Share2022-2027 CAGR
Earwear313.062.1%390.662.1%4.9%
Smartwatch157.331.2%206.232.8%6.8%
Wristband32.16.4%30.14.8%-3.0%
Others1.70.3%2.50.4%8.4%
Total504.1100.0%629.4100.0%5.0%
Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, June 23, 2023

The dominance of earwear as the largest product category is expected to persist, as new users enter the market and existing users upgrade their devices purchased in 2020 and 2021. Simultaneously, smartwatches are projected to experience exceptional growth, with users transitioning from wristbands to more advanced smartwatches. However, wristbands are anticipated to maintain their presence, catering to users seeking simpler wearable solutions. Other wearable categories such as clothing, rings, non-augmented or virtual reality glasses, and others, will experience modest growth from a smaller base.

Ramon T. Llamas, research director of IDC’s Wearables team, expressed confidence in the market’s growth, stating, “Despite the ongoing challenges in the macroeconomy, demand for wearables will push the market back into growth mode.” Llamas further highlighted the potential for future purchases, driven by the release of new devices and the need for replacements among users who acquired devices several years ago. Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers, emphasized the significance of emerging markets like India, which has surpassed the United States and China in market size. Ubrani expects emerging markets, along with regions like Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, to contribute to continuous shipment growth, while China and the USA remain key markets.

In summary, the wearable device market is poised for a recovery following a decline in 2022. Earwear and smartwatches will be the driving forces behind this growth, with emerging markets playing a crucial role in sustaining the market’s upward trajectory.