FRAMINGHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The worldwide market for wearable devices grew 31.4% during the fourth quarter of 2018 (4Q18), reaching a new high of 59.3 million units according to data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker. Growth in the market was driven by new wearables launching during the months leading up to the holiday season as well as new smartphone launches as many were bundled with wearables from leading brands. Shipments for the entire year of 2018 grew by 27.5% with 172.2 million wearables shipped. Much of this growth was attributed to the growing number of ear-worn devices as they captured almost a quarter of the market during the year.
In keeping up with current trends, IDC has recently revised its taxonomy for ear-worn devices to now include wireless headphones capable of enabling smart assistants at the touch of a button or through hot-word detection. Examples of such headphones include Apple's AirPods, Google's Pixel Buds, Bose's QC35II, and more.
Among the various form factors available during the quarter, smartwatches grew 55.2% compared to 4Q17 and accounted for 34.3% of the overall market during the quarter. Meanwhile, wrist bands accounted for 30% of the market as recent launches from Xiaomi, Huawei, and Fitbit continued to drive the category forward. Ear-worn devices grew 66.4% and captured 21.9% of the market.
"The market for ear-worn wearables has grown substantially this past year and we expect this to continue in the years to come," said Jitesh Ubrani senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers. "It is the next battleground for companies as these types of headphones become a necessity for many given the exclusion of headphone jacks from modern devices. Add to that the rise of smart assistants and in-ear biometrics and companies have the perfect formula to sell consumers on a device that's complimentary to the device ecosystem that lives on their wrist and in their pocket." Read more