Wearables are gaining momentum and those investing in them are laughing all the way to the bank. Apple has had a sales boom and things are looking up for Fitbit with the Versa. Hearables just made up a fraction of these sales, but that’s starting to change. According to the latest IDC report, wearable shipments grew 27.5% year-over-year from Q4 2017 to Q4 2018. A lot of that growth is attributed to the demand for assistant-enabled hearables.
IDC has redefined hearables to include any pair of headphones or earbuds that allow you to speak to an assistant. For instance, AirPods, Pixel Buds, Galaxy Buds, Bose’s QC35 and more. These devices have grown 66.4% year-over-year and capture 21.9% of the wearable market. Smartwatches however lead the race with 55.2% growth year-over-year and taking on 34.2% of the wearable market. Apple is still the industry leader with 27.4% of the market and growing 21.5% year-over-year. The company shipped 16.2 million wearables in the fourth quarter of 2018. Apple watches accounted for 10.4 million of those while the rest were AirPods and Beats by Dre headphones. Xiaomi is the runner up with a strong foothold in China but slowing moving on to the rest of Asia and Europe. It grew 43.3% year-over-year and shipped 7.5 million devices in the fourth quarter of 2018. Huawei is doing very well in spite of legal and political troubles in the US.
The company registered a whopping 248.5% year-over-year growth and shipped 5.7 million units in Q4. Fitbit saw a modest growth of 3% year-over-year thanks to the popularity of the Versa and Charge 3. Samsung had 105.6% year-over-year growth, probably because of the same strategy that Huawei used. The company bundled many of its wearables with its popular smartphones.