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Apple continues to dominate wearable market, but Huawei and Samsung show rapid growth

Tyrone Stewart

Apple AirPodsThe global wearable market is growing in strength with 49.6m units sold during the first quarter of 2019, up 55.2 per cent from the same period in 2018, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC).

Wrist-worn wearables continue to dominate the market, accounting for a 63.2 per cent share. However, ear-worn devices experienced the fastest growth (135.1 per cent) and accounted for 34.6 per cent of all wearables shipped – much of this can be attributed to Apple’s AirPods.

“The elimination of headphone jacks and the increased usage of smart assistants both inside and outside the home have been driving factors in the growth of ear-worn wearables,” said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC mobile device trackers. “Looking ahead, this will become an increasingly important category as major platform and device makers use ear-worn devices as an on-ramp to entice consumers into an ecosystem of wearable devices that complement the smartphone but also offer the ability to leave the phone behind when necessary.”

Apple is still dominant the force in the wearable market, thanks to its Apple Watch, AirPods, and select Beats headphones. The company shipped 12.8m units in Q1 2019, representing a 25.8 per cent market share and year-over-year (YoY) growth of 49.5 per cent. Despite the growth, it actually suffered a one per cent decline in market share.

Xiaomi picked up the second spot in the list, thanks to the popularity of its Mi Band, which accounted for around 5m of its 6.6m wearable sales. This gave it a 13.3 per cent market share, gaining Apple’s lost one per cent, and growth of 68.2 per cent.

Third spot was taken by Xiaomi’s Chinese counterpart, Huawei. The company, which is facing a host of international problems over security concerns, recorded a massive 282.2 per cent growth in sales, jumping from 1.3m in Q1 2018 to 5m in Q1 2019. Its market share also leaped from 4.1 per cent to 10 per cent.

Samsung picked up fourth spot with 4.3m sales, jumping 151.6 per cent, while Fitbit shipped 2.9m units.