The growing popularity of wireless ear and headphones pushed wearable shipments in the third quarter up 94.6 per cent year-on-year, IDC figures showed.

IDC classes wireless earphones as hearables, noting these accounted for almost half the 84.5 million wearable units shipped during the quarter. A total of 40.7 million hearables were moved in the period, compared with 11.9 million in Q3 2018, fuelled by products including Apple Air Pods, Beats headphones and Samsung Galaxy Buds.

Wristbands accounted for 19.2 million of the Q3 total, up 48.6 per cent, with smartwatch shipments of 17.6 million 48 per cent higher.

Apple was the leading vendor, with 29.5 million wearables shipped, up 195.5 per cent, followed by Xiaomi on shipments of 12.4 million, up 66.1 per cent. IDC noted the vendor’s Mi Band accounted for 10 million of its total units.

Samsung ranked third with 8.3 million units shipped a 156.4 per cent increase; Huawei came fourth with shipments of 7.1 million up 202.6  per cent, and Fitbit rounded out the top five, with 3.5 million units up by less than 1 per cent.

Ramon Llamas, research director, said “hearables have become the new go-to product for the wearables market” as more smartphone manufacturers removed headphone jacks, driving consumers towards wireless headphones.

Research manager Jitesh Ubrani added: “The rise of smart assistants in the home and on the phone has led to an increased demand for wearables that have the ability to connect with these assistants.”

“With multiple form factors and the inclusion of smart assistants, the wearables market is well on its way to becoming a mass-market device category rather than one that primarily caters to health and fitness.”