Smartwatches form the fastest growing wearables sector in China

Consumers want more functions and lower prices.

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Smart wearables vendors shipped a total of 19.5 million units of smart wristbands, smartwatches, earphones, and headphones in the first quarter of 2019 in China, up 34.7% year-on-year, IDC data shows.

Shipments in China represented 39.3% of the global market’s 49.6 million units. However, growth in the country was slower than in the global market, which increased 55.2% year-on-year.

In China, Xiaomi remained the top seller with a shipment of 4.3 million units, up by 34.3% year-on-year. The brand was followed by Huawei, which was the fastest growing vendor in China, shipping 3.6 million units, up 214% year-on-year.

Apple remained the third largest vendor, shipping 2 million units, buoyed by its earphones.

IDC noted that a series of Xiaomi high quality earphones, which were launched in the first quarter, drove the brand’s growth as sales of its smart wristbands slowed in China.

However, smartwatches for adults emerged to be the most promising sub-sector in the wearables market in the first three months of this year. Notably, smartwatches are still absent in Xiaomi’s product lineup.

In that period, a total of 2.01 million smartwatches—excluding those specifically for children or the elderly—were shipped, up 89.4% year-on-year, driven by consumers’ shift to gadgets with more functions than smart wristbands, and lowered prices. Major vendors have been rolling out smartwatches with price tags that fall between USD 100 and 200.

In China, Huawei took a 44.3% of the smartwatch market, while Apple grabbed 17.1% of the pie. Xiaomi-backed Huami secured a 14.1% share.