Lobes carry the load, says IDC: 'Hearables' sector accounts for half of all tech clobber sold

Yep that's our old friend Earworn Wearables by another name

Wearable tech is seemingly big business, and according to number-cruncher IDC, the market grew by 94.6 per cent year-over-year in Q3 2019.

Accounting for the rise is so-called "hearables" — which refers to wireless headphones and other assorted lobe-adorning kit — with almost 40.7 million units sold during the three months, up from 11.9 million in the same quarter last year. This represents a whopping 242.4 per cent growth.

If this sounds familiar, it's because Gartner echoed similar sentiments in October. In that report, it attributed much of the growth in the wearables market to the likes of Apple’s AirPods, which are rapidly becoming a much sought-after bit of consumer kit.

Per IDC, "hearables" accounted for almost half the entire wearables market, which it said it partially down to the commoditisation of the sector. It's now possible to get a pair of truly wireless earbuds for less than a tenner on Amazon — although that's saying nothing with respect to quality.

Dominating the broader wearable market, unsurprisingly, is Apple, which shipped 29.5 million units during the third quarter. This is thanks to the Apple Watch, in addition to its AirPods and Beats headphones. IDC is bullish about Apple's prospects to maintain its short-term dominance of this sector, citing the re-positioning of the Series 3 Apple Watch as an entry-level model, as well as the overall enthusiasm surrounding the launch of the AirPods Pro.

In second place is Xiaomi, with 12.4 million units and 66.1 per cent year-over-year growth. IDC notes the Chinese tech conglomerate shifted 10 million units from its Mi Band lineup alone, which has entry-level models as cheap as £18 on Amazon.

Holding third and fourth position are Samsung and Huawei, respectively. The latter has persistently strong growth in the Chinese market, where it is able to operate free from the tether of Google's services ecosystem. It has also managed to retain much of its international customer base, although IDC notes Huawei has suffered from sluggish growth — no doubt due to the political challenges that prevent it from sourcing US-made tech.

At the bottom of IDC's top five was FitBit, whose latest lineup enjoyed a solid critical reception, but didn't quite capture the market – with just 3.5 million units sold. Given its acquisition by Google, it's unclear where it'll feature next year. ®

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