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Wearable device unit shipments worldwide by category 2017-2019, 2022

The number of wearable devices shipped worldwide is expected to double from 2019 to 2022. Shipments of smartwatches are predicted to increase by more than 50 percent over that period, but the hearables sector is expected to see the most growth: shipments of ear-worn devices are forecast to rise from 46 million units in 2019 to 158 million units in 2022.

Hearables aiding the wearables market

Hearables are forecast to hold the largest share of the wearables market by 2022 – around 35 percent – with shipments exceeding those of smartwatches and wristbands. Behind the growth is an increased level of innovation that makes the ear-worn devices more than just headphones that play music via Bluetooth. High quality microphones and speakers are embedded within the devices, allowing the user to interact with virtual assistants such as Apple’s Siri and the Google Assistant. There were more than 110 million voice assistant users in the United States in 2019 and this figure is predicted to increase over the next few years.

All the better to hear you with

Apple introduced the mainstream world to wireless earbuds when they unveiled the AirPods in 2016. Prior wireless technology used too much power to run off internal batteries, but advancements in technology meant tiny microchips could be installed in such compact devices that helped to reduce power consumption. Apple is the dominant manufacturer in the hearables market and holds a 50 percent share of all shipments worldwide. Sales of wearables, home, and accessories account for more than 10 percent of Apple’s overall revenue, a share that has steadily increased over recent years and no doubt boosted by the popularity of the AirPods.

Forecast unit shipments of wearable devices worldwide from 2017 to 2019 and in 2022 (in million units), by category

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Release date

November 2018



Survey time period

2017 to 2018

Supplementary notes


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Statistics on "Wearables"

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