Although they are the smallest of tech accessories, they are quickly becoming an essential companion—ownership of smart earbuds has doubled in the past year, according to Mintel.
The popularity of these smart devices is set to continue to grow, as 22% of Brits say they intend to purchase smart earbuds this year. This compares to just 12% who said the same in 2018. Intent to purchase is even higher among Generation Z consumers, with almost half planning to buy smart earbuds over the next year.
“The increasing popularity of smart earbuds can be attributed to these devices providing a totally wireless, portable, and easy-to-use experience,” says Zach Emmanuel, Mintel technology analyst. “As consumers have become accustomed to the design of smart earbuds, the ownership of the devices is gaining markedly.”
Other wearable devices growing as well
The overall market for wrist-worn wearables is valued at an estimated £5.13 million in 2019, growing 23% compared to 2018, according to Mintel. Valued at £2.21 million, fitness tracker/sports watch sales are estimated to have increased by 10% since 2018. Ticking along nicely, the most significant growth has been in smartwatches, which are estimated to have grown by 35% over the past year to reach £2.92 million.
Overall, 19% of Brits owns a fitness band or sports watch while 13% own a non-fitness smartwatch such as Apple Watch. Over the next 12 months, 26% of Brits plan to buy a fitness band—compared to 19% who said the same in 2018—while 24% plan to purchase a smartwatch, up from 18% in 2018.
While tracking exercise (44%) and listening to music (38%) are the most popular uses for smartwatches, there has been a sharp rise in the number of smartwatch owners accessing social media via these devices. This has almost doubled to 30% in 2019, up from 17% in 2018. There’s also been a significant increase in the number of owners using smartwatches as voice assistants, rising to 22% in 2019 (vs. 13% in 2018).
Yet as smartwatches continue to grow in popularity, two-thirds of consumers believe they are too expensive.
“As a result, there is an opportunity for manufacturers to offer smart functionality, such as controlling smart home devices on fitness trackers,” says Emmanuel. “Offering further smart functionality on fitness trackers is likely to appeal to consumers, as these devices are cheaper than smartwatches.”