Supply chain disruptions and shipping delays likely impacted shipments in Q3 2021, but despite these pandemic-related challenges, global wearables shipments increased 9.9% year-over-year (YoY) during the quarter. That’s the big news from IDC’s latest Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker. The wearables sector comprises a variety of device form factors, but hearables and wrist-worn devices accounted for most of the shipments. Overall, hearables racked up 64.7% of the shipments worldwide and wrist-worn devices took 34.7%. All other formats managed a scant 0.6% of global shipments in Q3.

The dominant hearables sector increased by 26.5% of all wearables shipments YoY. TWS (true wireless stereo) headphones (think AirPods here) drove hearables growth. As we’ve noted previously, hearing assist devices and hearing aids continue to grow market share in the U.S. with new technologies and easier access with over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids that do not require a prescription (or an audiologist visit). Hearables for entertainment and communications still account for the bulk of hearables shipments.

IDC reports that as watches gain capabilities and as the prices of drop for non-Apple watches, shipments of watches sold for $100 or less now equal wristband shipments.

Apple maintains supremacy in wearables shipments, accounting for 28.8% of 3Q21 shipments (down 3.6% from 3Q20) and a handsome 53% of the market dollar share value. Samsung and Xiaomi tied for 9.2% market share, followed by Huawei at 7.9% and India’s fast-growing Imagine Marketing with 7.2% of global shipments. Imagine Marketing enjoyed 206.4% YoY market growth driven by its low-cost wearables.