Analyst company IDC highlighted increased consumer demand for low-cost watches with connected elements over traditionally more popular fitness-focused wristbands in Q3, a quarter where ear-worn devices continued to dominate the wearables market.

In the latest version of its wearables shipment tracker, IDC reported a 26.5 per cent year-on-year jump in the so-called hearables segment.

Ear-worn devices comprised 65 per cent of all sales, with the vast majority of the remainder wrist-worn. Despite the continued rise of ear buds and related items, IDC’s analysis focused on changes in the wrist-worn devices market.

Research manager for Mobility and Consumer Device trackers Jitesh Ubrani noted a shift in demand from wristbands to low cost connected watches, as “consumers increasingly want a more capable device and as the gap in pricing [between the two] narrows.”

In Q3, IDC noted lower-priced watches matched the previously dominant wristbands.

IDC found while there was an appetite for smartwatches, which it defines as those able to run third party applications, more basic models including those aimed at children or containing exercise tracking elements drove growth of 4.3 per cent.

Going forward, renewed interest in smartwatches is expected to be boosted by the latest batch of Apple watches and those running a new version of Google’s WearOS.

Across all wearable segments, shipments increased almost 10 per cent to 138.4 million units.

Apple led on 39.8 million units, down 3.6 per cent, followed by Samsung and Xiaomi with 12.7 million each (up 13.8 per cent and down 23.8 per cent, respectively).

Xiaomi’s drop-off was attributed to its previous high sales of the now declining wristband segment.

The remaining places in its top five were taken by Huawei (10.9 million) and India-based Imagine Marketing (10 million).