March 6, 2019
Consumers around the world are warming to wearables, including activity trackers, fitness bands and smartwatches. IDC reports that the global wearables market increased more than 31 percent during Q4 2018, representing a new record of 59.3 million units. Total shipments of 172.2 million units for 2018 mark a 27.5 percent jump over the previous year (although IDC now includes ‘hearables’ such as headphones and earbuds in its calculations). Apple led the charge with 16.2 million devices shipped in Q4 2018, 10.4 million of which were Apple Watches.
Ear-worn wearables are “the next battleground for companies as these types of headphones become a necessity for many, given the exclusion of headphone jacks from modern devices,” said IDC senior research analyst Jitesh Ubrani. “Add to that the rise of smart assistants and in-ear biometrics, and companies have the perfect formula to sell consumers on a device that’s complementary to the device ecosystem that lives on their wrist and in their pocket.”
IDC notes that the holiday season impacted the shipment of wearables in Q4 2018, “in addition to smartphones bundled with wrist-worn gadgets from top brands,” reports VentureBeat.
“The popularity of ear-worn devices — a category that includes wireless earbuds like Apple’s AirPods, Google’s Pixel Buds, Bose’s QC35II, and more — also contributed substantially. This group alone captured 21.9 percent of the market (up 66.4 percent) in 2018, according to IDC.”
Smartwatches increased 55.2 percent year-over-year for Q4 and represented 34.3 percent of wearables for Q4 2018, while wrist bands accounted for 30 percent.
Apple shipped a total of 46.2 million devices in 2018 “for 26.8 percent of the market, up 39.5 percent year-over-year from 33.1 million shipments (24.5 market share),” explains VB. “That’s more or less in line with findings from research firm Strategy Analytics, which reported last month that Apple took 51 percent of the smartwatch market in Q4 2018, with 9.2 million Apple Watches shipped.”
Other top players in the worldwide wearables market include Xiaomi, Huawei, Fitbit and Samsung.