Apple is crushing the wearables industry thanks to its wildly popular AirPods, and it's going to be more challenging than ever for Samsung and Fitbit to catch up
Crystal Cox/Business Insider
- Apple is dominating the wearables industry thanks to the success of its AirPods, Apple Watch, and Beats headphones, according to the International Data Corporation.
- The wearables industry overall saw record growth in the third quarter of 2019, largely thanks to growing interest in wireless earbuds.
- Growth in wireless earbuds far outpaced that of smartwatches and wristbands, which is great news for Apple since it dominates the cordless earbud space.
- But it's a troubling sign for rivals like Samsung and Fitbit, which have traditionally focused more on smartwatches and fitness trackers than headphones.
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The iPhone may be Apple's biggest and most profitable product. But as wireless earbuds like AirPods are continuing to grow in popularity, Apple seems positioned to dominate the wearable technology market, possibly making it more difficult for longtime rivals like Samsung and Fitbit to catch up.
Global shipments of wearable devices hit 84.5 million units in the third quarter of 2019, representing a year-over-year increase of 94.6%, according to recently published statistics from the International Data Corporation.
Most of that growth was driven by the rise of "hearables," a term that refers to smart wireless earbuds like Apple's AirPods, Samsung's Galaxy Buds, and Amazon's Echo Buds. Ear-worn devices like wireless earbuds showed the highest year-over-year growth and accumulated the most market share in the third quarter when compared to smartwatches and wristbands. The earwear category grew by 242.4% year-over-year, while wristbands only grew by 48.6% and smartwatches grew by 48%, reports the IDC.
The shift toward "hearables" could be troubling for players like Fitbit, which was recently acquired by Google, and Samsung, two companies that have historically held a strong presence in the wearables industry thanks to their respective wrist-worn devices, not their headphones.