Global wearable device shipments grew 85.2% in the second quarter of 2019 (2Q19) as shipments totaled 67.7 million units according to new data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker.
Apple led the market for hearables by capturing 50.2% share during the quarter. New products such as the refreshed AirPods and the latest from the Beats lineup helped the company grow 218.2% compared to last year. With the iPhone business facing challenges, Apple's wearables business, particularly the popularity of the AirPods, is helping the company once again become the de facto standard though this time it's for hearables, according to IDC.
Earworn devices (hearables) were among the fastest growing categories, capturing 46.9% of the overall wearables market during the quarter, up from 24.8% a year ago, notes the research group. Driving that growth was a slew of new products and consumers who purchased their second wearable, a hearable, to use in parallel with existing watches or wrist bands.
“The growing popularity of the hearables segment is forcing existing brands to reconsider past designs when launching new products, as evident in Samsung's popular Galaxy Buds, while also attracting new brands to market," says Jitesh Ubrani research manager for IDC Mobile Device Trackers. "And though it's still early days, the market is showing signs of emerging subsegments such as hearables dedicated to sports from the likes of Jabra, premium hearables from companies such as Bose, and ones dedicated to hearing loss such as those from Nuheara."
What has been driving the hearables market is the experience," adds Ramon . Llamas, research director, Wearables. Quality audio is still the hallmark of hearables, but additional features – ranging from adjusting audio to smart assistants and health and fitness – increase their value and utility.
“As prices come down and more features come on board, this next generation of hearables will become the new normal for earphones,” Llamas says.