IDC: Wrist-Worn and Ear-Worn Wearables Lead the Market, Fueled by a Strong Growth Trajectory

IDC Wearables report
Image: Apple

Global shipments of wearable devices reached 49.6 million units during the first quarter of 2019, up 55.2% from the previous year, according to market research firm IDC. Not surprisingly, Apple maintained its industry-leading market share thanks to growth in shipments of Apple Watches, AirPods, and Beats headphones. Huawei, with all the troubles building up over its businesses, posted 282.2% gains. Apple’s Asian rivals Xiaomi, Huawei, and Samsung all saw sharper year-over-year increases than the Cupertino tech giant.

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While wrist-worn wearables accounted for the majority of the market with 63.2% share, ear-worn devices experienced the fastest growth (135.1% year over year) and accounted for 34.6% of all wearables shipped, the IDC report said.

“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.”

IDC wearables report
Image: IDC

Leading Company Highlights

Apple still leads the wearables market with Apple Watch, AirPods, and select Beats headphones.

Xiaomi ranked second largely due to the popularity of its Mi Band, which accounted for roughly five million shipments.

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Samsung, like Apple, also offers multiple product lines including the Gear/Galaxy watches and bands, the Galaxy Buds, and select JBL headphones.

Fitbit rounded out the top 5 and maintained its positive growth trajectory. The recent launch of the Versa Lite as well as the Inspire series has helped the company reach new users as well as encouraged upgrades, although this has come at the expense of a lower ASP.

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