Apple’s wearables are poised for strong growth over the next four years, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC). The market intelligence firm said the worldwide “earwear” market is forecasted to reach 139.4 million units in 2019, and nearly double to 273.7 million units in 2023.
The innovative technology giant continues to dominate the wearables industry with its AirPods, Beats headphones and Apple Watch offerings. The growth in wireless earbuds, which Apple controls, outpaced both wristbands and smartwatches.
Apple AirPods took the lead in Q3, with its slew of smart earwear products accounting for 48.1 percent of all shipments in the wearables category, IDC noted. Additionally, its earpiece shipments grew 242.4 percent from the same period a year ago.
The wearables global market is on track to ship 305.2 million units in 2019, up 71.4 percent from the 178 million units shipped in 2018. About 69.3 million smartwatches are expected to ship this year.
“Apple’s watchOS will remain in front throughout our forecast by a wide margin, and function as a measuring stick against which all other smartwatch platforms are compared,” according to the press release.
Total volumes for smartwatches will hit 109.2 million units worldwide by 2023.
“Multiple vendors have capitalized on this emerging trend with devices that span the product spectrum, from truly wireless earbuds to full over-the-ear headphones, and a wide range of prices — from as little as $50 to several hundreds of dollars,” the release added.
IDC also sees a continued downward trend in smartwatch pricing, with companies like Apple participating and playing a crucial role in lower price pressure.
Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers, stated, “Underpinning the growth in the wearables market has been a drastic reduction in average selling prices. … With a starting price of $199 for the Series 3, Apple is bound to put pressure on other smartwatch makers to make their devices more wallet-friendly.”
Apple is dominating the earwear space as a market leader, and putting new pricing pressures on its rivals. Existing players may face a concerning threat in the wearables category, with market growth — and shifts toward earwear and competition — intensifying.
The company is selling more than twice as many devices as its closest competitor, Xiaomi, according to the IDC. Samsung used to be the second-largest smartwatch vendor in Q2, coming behind Apple, while Fitbit came in third, according to Strategy Analytics. Google is also planning to launch new wireless earbuds, Pixel Buds, in 2020.