Global shipments of wearable devices reached 49.6 million units during the first quarter of 2019 (1Q19), 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. Apple maintained the leading position as the company offers 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, according to IDC. Apple also seems to be employing a similar strategy in its wireless headphone lineup as the latest AirPods are now available with wireless charging and an increased ASP, adds the research group.
"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," says 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."
"Shipments of wristwear – including watches and wristbands – grew 31.6% year over year, and continue to dominate the wearables landscape," adds Ramon T. Llamas, research director for Wearables. "While the functionalities and capabilities have grown and changed, the one common thread is the relentless focus on health and fitness. This has resonated strongly with users and health insurance companies alike, and new health and fitness insights attract a larger audience."