More than 500 million wearables were sold globally throughout 2020, latest research from Strategy Analytics showed, a record high for the segment which was tipped to surpass smartphone sales by the end of the decade.

In its latest Global Wearables Sales report, Strategy Analytics stated global wearable sales topped 527 million, a 37 per cent year-on-year increase from 384 million in 2019.

Earwear in particular experienced a surge, increasing 61 per cent to 327 million units, while wristwear was up 11 per cent to 188 million units.

The other category, comprising fitness bands; smart jewellery, apparel and glasses; and VR devices, was up 4 per cent to 12 million units.

Strategy Analytics highlighted Apple Airpods and Xiaomi’s Mi Watch as the two biggest products driving the segment, with earwear and wristwear accounting for 98 per cent of all wearables sold throughout the year.

Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, believes if the current growth trend continues, wearables will overtake smartphone sales before 2030.

“Wearables can almost be worn on almost any part of the body, from head to toe,” he said citing glasses with AR, rings with biosensors and shoes equipped with pollution monitors as examples.

“The scope for future wearables growth is huge,” he said.

Wearables have some way to go before surpassing smartphones though: rival research company Gartner recently stated smartphone sales for 2020 hit more than 1.3 billion.