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Hearables were the fastest growing wearables category in the second quarter of this year according to new data from the International Data Corporation (IDC).
According to their Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, global wearable device shipments reached nearly 68 million units in Q2 2019. This represents and astonishing 85.2% growth on the same period last year.
The star performer were ear-worn devices, otherwise known as hearables. These are defined as wearables that hand or plug into the ear. In addition to emiting sound, they also must track fitness, modify audio (not just noise reduction), provide language translation or facilitate smart assistants.
Hearables captured 46.9% of wearable shipments between April and June this year, nearly double their 24.8% share in the same period in 2018. This equates to shipments of over 31 million units, or 250% year-on-year growth.
Here’s how the top companies stacked up.
IDC says driving the growth were new products and consumers looking to purchase a second wearable as an addition to their existing smartwatch or fitness band.
“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,” said 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.”
Xiaomi branded hearables saw the biggest increase during the period. Its AirDots, in particular, are a big seller in China. The company should start to make inroads into international markets soon, considering it has already done so for fitness trackers and smartphones.
Apple, of course, retained the top spot with a 50.2% share during the three month period. This was primarily facilitated by refreshed AirPods and the new Beats lineup.
Samsung captured the second position with its self-branded and JBL products. Galaxy Buds are worth a mention here, as are the JBL Tune 500BT.
Rounding out the top 5 hearable manufacturers are Bose and ReSound. The GC35ii and the SoundSport Free were Bose’s top selling products. ReSound is the parent company of Jabra, makers of the popular Elite Active 65t.
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