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 data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker.
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 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,” Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC Mobile Device Trackers, said in a statement. “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.”
Shipments of wristwear — including watches and wristbands — grew 31.6% year over year, and continue to dominate the wearables landscape.
Apple maintained the leading position with its three product lines; Apple Watch, AirPods, and select Beats headphones. The Apple Watch in particular has proven to be highly successful at capturing unit share, but more importantly dollar share as the average selling price (ASP) of these watches has increased from $426 in 1Q18 to $455 in the latest quarter.
Xiaomi ranked second largely due to the popularity of its Mi Band, which accounted for roughly five million shipments.
Huawei ended the quarter with market-beating growth of 282.2%. However, with the recent uncertainty surrounding the company’s future in smartphones, the outlook for the wearables side of the business will also remain in flux.
Samsung, like Apple, also offers multiple product lines including the Gear/Galaxy watches and bands, the Galaxy Buds, and select JBL headphones. The launch of Samsung’s Galaxy S10 lineup helped the company propel its wearables business through the use of bundling.
Fitbit rounded out the top 5 and maintained its positive growth trajectory. The recent launch of the Versa Lite and 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. The company remains highly focused on the healthcare/enterprise segment and has continued to make strides in that market, surpassing many of its competitors.