Uptake of ear-worn products propelled the broader wearables market to new heights in 2019, fuelling large increases in shipments during Q4 and the full year, IDC data showed.

Ramon Llamas, research director for IDC’s wearables team, hailed 2019 as a “strong step forward for the worldwide wearables market”. He noted hearing-oriented devices were “the big story” as manufacturers introduced new products and a lack of headphone jacks compelled users to purchase wireless earbuds.

Global shipments of wearable devices jumped 82.3 per cent in Q4 to 118.9 million units, with so-called earwear accounting for 55.3 per cent. Wrist-worn devices, including watches and bands, accounted for 43.8 per cent, down from a dominant share of 68.6 per cent in Q4 2018.

Full year shipments increased 89 per cent to 336.5 million, significantly higher than IDC’s earlier prediction of 305.2 million.

Earwear shipments skyrocketed 250.5 per cent to 170.5 million; wrist bands grew 37.4 per cent to 69.4 million; and watches increased 22.7 per cent to 92.4 million.

Apple dominated the wearable segment with 106.5 million units shipped in 2019, an increase of 89.5 per cent. Xiaomi trailed with 41.7 million shipments, followed by Samsung (30.9 million), Huawei (27.9 million) and Fitbit (15.9 million).