Devices like AirPods helped push wearables market 94.6% in Q3 2019

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Whatever side you fall on the wireless earphone debate, the effect that these devices have had of late cannot be denied. Proof of this is the latest report from research firm IDC for the wearables market during Q3 2019.

Said market saw a massive surge in sales of 94.6 percent, which represents a record number in shipments for any quarter as far as wearables go. Pushing this demand were wireless earphones in particular, or “hearables” as IDC terms them.

“Most of the growth in demand for wearables was driven by new products in the hearables market. Hearables alone accounted for almost half the market in 3Q19, followed by wrist bands and smartwatches,” the research firm notes.

Much of this growth has to do with the fact that many smartphone makers have chosen to remove the 3.5mm headphone jacks from devices. There is of course the ability to use USB Type-C alternatives on certain devices, but the market in general appears to making the switch to wireless to take care of audio requirements.

“This began with multiple vendors removing the headphone jack from their smartphones, driving the move toward wireless headphones. It continued with hearables incorporating additional features that either augment or expand the audio experience,” says Ramon T. Llamas, research director for IDC’s wearables team.

“Next, hearables have taken on multiple form factors – ranging from truly wireless to over-the-ear headphones – appealing to a broad base of earwear user preferences. Finally, prices have come down significantly, with some reaching below $20,” he adds.

Among the vendors it was Apple which led the pack, with its Watch and AirPod devices in particular proving very popular, according to IDC.

“Apple captured the top position thanks to the growing popularity of the Apple Watch, AirPods, and Beats headphones. Looking ahead, the price reduction on the Series 3 Watch as well as the launch of AirPods Pro leaves Apple in a strong position to maintain dominance in this market for the short term,” the firm explained.

In recent years Apple’s smartphone business has slowed, seeing the firm lose ground to the likes of Samsung and Huawei. With a vastly superior 35 percent market share, could wearables be the area where Apple establishes its dominance again?

Either way it looks as if this upward trend for wearables sales is set to remain.

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.