Apple's shipments of wearables continued to grow year-on-year in the first quarter of 2021, but the company lost overall market share to smaller rivals, according to newly-published IDC data.
Companies shipped a total of 104.6 million units in the first quarter of this year, marking a 34.4 percent increase from the 77.8 million units shipped at the same time last year. This is also the first time that first-quarter shipments have topped 100 million units worldwide.
While market leaders like Apple and Samsung maintained their lead during the quarter, most of the growth came from smaller companies like BoAt.
Apple started 2021 the same way it ended 2020: as the clear leader in the worldwide wearables market. Appetite for its smartwatches remained strong with the less expensive SE and Series 3 gaining further traction in the market while its earwear – inclusive of AirPods and Beats – showed sequential declines after reaching record levels in 4Q20.
Although Apple sold five million more wearables in the first quarter of 2021 and stayed the market leader, it lost 3.5 percent overall market share to competitors, most of which were much smaller.
IDC wearables data includes both smartwatches, such as the Apple Watch, and earwear, such as AirPods. Apple does not provide specific breakdowns of the number of Apple Watch and AirPods models shipped, so IDC's data is based on estimates.
During an earnings call earlier this, Apple said that wearables set a new revenue record in the first fiscal quarter of 2021. Apple's wearables business is now the size of a Fortune 120 company.