Apple earns biggest Q1 market share for wearables

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AirPods art challenge
Apple is the Goliath of the wearables market.
Photo: @SCOTUSPlaces/Twitter

Apple’s lineup of wearables for this year’s first quarter earned the company the largest share of an exploding wearable devices market, according to a report from the International Data Corp.

Shipments of Apple Watches, AirPods and Beats headphones totaled 12.8 million for a 25.8 percent Q1 market share. While its share slipped a 1 percent, its year-over-year growth nearly topped 50 percent, according to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker.

Global shipments reached 49.6 million, up 55 percent from the previous year.

Behind Apple in market share was Xiaomi, second with 13.3 percent; Huawei, third with 10 percent; Samsung with 8.7 percent; and Fitbit, fifth with 5.9 percent. The top five all experienced solid growth, though Huawei smashed all competitors with a 282.2 percent year-over-year growth.

Q1 2019 wearables market share

Apple wearables success not all in the wrist

More than half of the shipments were wrist-worn wearables as consumers continue to warm up to the evolving smartwatch, thanks largely to the health tracking features.

A report from Counterpoint Research earlier this month showed Apple’s growth in the Apple Watch grew 49 percent in the first three months of the year. Its revenue for the watch grew by 30 percent.

But the biggest spark in growth signals another change in attitude – consumer acceptance of the disappearing headphone jack in smartphones.

Shipments of ear-worn devices grew more than 135 percent.

“The elimination of headphone jacks and the increased usage of smart assistants both inside and outside the home have been driving factors in the growth of ear-worn wearables,” Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC Mobile Device Trackers, said in a written statement. “Looking ahead, this will become an increasingly important category as major platform and device makers use ear-worn devices as an on-ramp to entice consumers into an ecosystem of wearable devices that complement the smartphone but also offer the ability to leave the phone behind when necessary.”

Apple Watch had year-over-year growth of just under 15 percent but was second to Xiaomi in shares of wrist-worn devices on the strength of the Chinese company’s Mi Band.

IDC did not provide separate company growth figures for in-ear devices.