A year ago, I was writing that Apple was the biggest force in wearables over the previous 12 months. Now fresh IDC data shows that the company has sured up its already very strong position with even more impressive sales in 2019.
In 2018, Apple had 27% of the market representing 48 million shipments. Last year, this jumped 121.7% to 106.5 million units and a market share of 31.7%.
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And it really is a massive lead. The nearest competitor, Chinese giants Xiaomi, shifted 41.7 million units putting it on 12.4% of the market over all, with Samsung on 30.9 million (9.2%), Huawei on 27.9 million (8.3%) and Fitbit on 15.9 million (4.7%).
That’s the same top five as a year ago, with the order of the bottom three shifted (Samsung and Fitbit swapped places, with Huawei remaining in the middle).
All the rest combined were only slightly ahead of Apple with 113.5 million – or around 33.7%.
Generally, the wearables market appears to be in pretty rude health, with every company in the list reporting at least double-digit growth year on year. Samsung put on 153.3%, Huawei 148.8%, Apple 121.7%, Xiaomi 78.8% and Fitbit 14.8%.
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But it’s when you dig down into the product categories that the real source of growth becomes apparent. ‘Earwear/Hearables’ may be a nauseatingly clunky description for a category, but it’s clearly here to stay with 250.5% year-on-year growth and a total of 170.5 million shipments in 2019.
“Hearables were the big story due to new product introductions and more smartphones cutting the cord with traditional earphones, practically driving users to purchase a hearable,” said Ramon T. Llamas, research director of IDC’s Wearables group.
Watches were also big performers in 2019 with 92.4 million shipments, and year-on-year growth of 22.7%. Wristbands, while still representing only 20.6% of the market (69.4 million shipments) also saw 37.4% growth on 2018.