A total of 84.5 million units of wearable devices were shipped in the third quarter of 2019, a year-over-year increase of 94.6% and a new record for shipments in a single quarter, according to new data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker. Driving the growth in demand for wearables were new hearables, which alone accounted for almost half the market in 3Q19, followed by wristbands and smartwatches, reports Business Wire.
“Hearables have become the new go-to product for the wearables market,” pointed out Ramon T. Llamas, research director for IDC's Wearables Team. “This began with multiple vendors removing the headphone jack from their smartphones, driving the move toward wireless headphones. It continued with hearables incorporating additional features that either augment or expand the audio experience. Next, hearables have taken on multiple form factors – ranging from truly wireless to over-the-ear headphones – appealing to a broad base of earwear user preferences. Finally, prices have come down significantly, with some reaching below $20.”
The top 5 companies in the IDC list are Apple, Xiaomi, Samsung, Huawei and Fitbit.
Growing popularity of Apple Watch, AirPods, and Beats headphones helped Apple take the top spot.
Xiaomi shipped more than 10 million units of its popular Mi Band during 3Q19. The company also significantly expanded its global reach by targeting countries in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region.
Samsung's new watches and hearables (both self-branded as well as JBL-branded) captured 9.8% of the market.
Despite political challenges, Huawei ranked fourth globally thanks to a strong performance in its home country of China. Within its borders, Huawei grew 188% year over year, making it one of the fastest growing companies in China.
Fitbit rounded out the top five and the company's latest wearables and watches have been well received though it still struggled to grow during the quarter. The latest news regarding its acquisition by Google fills the brand's future with uncertainty.
“The rise of smart assistants in the home and on the phone has led to an increased demand for wearables that have the ability to connect with these assistants,” said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC Mobile Device Trackers. “With multiple form factors and the inclusion of smart assistants, the wearables market is well on its way to becoming a mass market device category rather than one that primarily caters to health and fitness.”