According to a recently released report from market research firm IDC, global shipments of wearable devices totaled 84.5 million units in the third quarter of 2019, a year-over-year increase of 94.6% and a new record for quarterly shipments. The increase in the overall wearables market was driven by the substantial growth of the ‘hearables’ sector, or the segment of wearable audio devices.
“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.”
Apple is currently dominating the wearables market with 29.5 million shipments, largely due to the success of the Apple Watch and AirPods, while the newly released AirPods Pro positions Apple to continue its leading position in the market. Xiaomi came second with 12.4 million units shipped, as the Mi Band gained popularity in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Samsung was third, while Huawei came fourth with 7.1 million shipments. Huawei’s success in the wearables market is largely attributable to their domestic market. In China, where Huawei sold 80% of their wearables, the company achieved 188% growth year over year.
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