We follow several global market research firms and consider IDC one of the most trusted. Near the end of 2018, we wrote about reports from IDC and the Gartner Group in which both organizations predicted that smartwatches would drive the wearables market for the next four years, along with head-mounted displays and ear-worn devices.

IDC issued its 2018 Q4 report on worldwide wearables shipments last week. Even though the earlier report was forward-looking, the more recent historical report was largely in alignment with IDC’s prior predictions. Holiday shipments of smartwatches, wrist bands, and ear-worn devices had the largest quarterly gains. Based on IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, 59.3 million wearable devices shipped in 2018’s last quarter, representing a 31.4% growth from Q4 2017. New smartphone model launches with bundled wearables and holiday seasonal shipments drove the growth overall. Worldwide shipments for all of 2018 totaled 172.2 million wearable units, up 27.5% from 2017.

During Q4 2018, smartwatch shipments grew 55.2% QTQ and lead all other devices with 34.4% of the market. Wristbands racked up 30% of shipments during the quarter, led by new devices from Xiaomi, Huawei, and Fitbit. Ear-worn devices — a group that now includes headphones that work with smart assistants such as Apple’s AirPods and Google’s Pixel Buds — accounted for 21.9% of the wearables shipments and increased 66.4% for the quarter as a category.

The top five wearables companies for 2018’s last quarter were Apple (16.2 million devices, including 10.4 million Apple watches), Xiamoi (7.5 million, led by the Mi Band 3), Huawei (5.7 million), Fitbit (5.5 million, mostly Charge 3 and Versa), and Samsung (4.0 million, with standouts Galaxy Watch and Gear S3).

Head-mounted displays featured in the report’s forward-looking predictions but didn’t move the markets in 2018. Based on IDC’s report, wearables continue to gain sales even as the device categories evolve.