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Wearables On A Roll, Good News For Retailers

The wearables market is on a roll with brands such as Fitbit, Samsung Huawei and Apple witnessing strong demand for their devices according to new research.

IDC analysts claim that several vendors are returning with improved hardware and software that are more attuned with user demands, among the top three brands are Apple and Fitbit.

Combined with a slow warming reception among consumers and commercial users, the global research group believe the market will accelerate in the latter years before topping the 200-million mark by 2023.”

The sector enjoyed a 27.5% growth over the year, and a 31.4% year-on-year improvement in Q4 alone.

Some observers claim that smartwatches have finally hit the mainstream and accounted for 29.8% of wearable sales over the year – wristbands and ear-worn devices were also included in the list.

Of the 172.2 million units shipped in 2018, 46.2 million Apple was the biggest beneficiary of the growth with their AirPods and the Apple Watch snaring a healthy 26.8% of the market overall.

The 39.5% year-on-year growth is in sharp contrast to the decline in sales of the iPhone.

The main threat to Apple’s global dominance in the wearable market is coming from China, where Xiaomi took second place with 23.3 million units shipped – a 44.6% year-on-year increase.

Huawei took fourth place with an astonishing 147.3% increase, jumping from 5.8 million units shipped in 2017 to 11.3 million in 2018.

Samsung took fifth position, itself seeing 85.1% growth, jumping from 5.8 million units to 10.7 million.

Rounding up the top five is Fitbit in third place.

This is despite the fitness tracker market falling 10% over the year as a whole (falling from 15.4 million units in 2017 to 13.8 million last year).

The strong growth it showed in the final quarter suggests it’s back on the right track.

According to IDC, the release of the Charge 3, the continued strong sales of the Versa and its partnerships with health companies pushed it towards 3% growth on Q4 2017.

The real growth in the wearable market has come from earbuds and headphones according to IDC. “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, a senior research analyst at 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.”

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