Wearable sales almost double thanks to wireless earbuds

Global wearable shipments almost doubled in the third quarter of 2019, surging 94.6 per cent year-on-year (YoY) to reach 84.5m units – the most that’s ever been shipped in a single quarter.

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), most of the growth experienced was driven by new products in the hearables market, which accounted for 40.7m – or 48.1 per cent of – units sold.

“Hearables have become the new go-to product for the wearables market,” said Ramon T. Llamas, research director for IDCs 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 growing popularity of AirPods, Watch, and Beats meant that Apple strengthened its market position in the wearables sector in Q3 2019. The tech giant shipped 29.5m units, capturing a market share of 35 per cent. This represented an almost 200 per cent YoY growth compared to the 10m units it shipped in Q3 2018.

Xiaomi shipped 12.4m units thanks to its popular Mi Bands, though its market share decreased by over three per cent, while Samsung was able to grow by over 150 per cent to ship 8.3m units of both self-branded and JBL-branded products. Huawei leaped 202.6 per cent to 7.1m shipments and Fitbit’s growth stalled, remaining at 3.5m shipments.