Sales of Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) wearable devices -- Apple Watch, AirPods, and Beats earphones -- nearly tripped last quarter, according to estimates from research firm IDC. With greater growth than most of its competition, this expanded Apple's market share significantly. More importantly for Apple investors, it highlights the company's ability to maintain a leadership position in this nascent and fast-growing market.
Strong sales from Apple's wearables products last quarter, combined with key wearables product launches going into the holidays, set up the tech giant well for its fiscal 2020.
A 196% jump in wearables shipments
"Apple captured the top position [in worldwide wearables shipments during the third quarter of 2019] thanks to the growing popularity of the Apple Watch, AirPods, and Beats headphones," wrote IDC in a Dec. 9 press release.
IDC estimates Apple's total wearables shipments during the quarter came in at 29.5 million -- up 195.5% from an estimated 10 million shipments in the third quarter if 2018. This boosted Apple's share of global shipments from 23% in the third quarter of 2018 to 35%, IDC forecasts.
While Apple doesn't break out its wearables sales from its "wearables, home, and accessories" segment, the segment did see incredible growth in Apple's fourth quarter of fiscal 2019, which coincides with the third calendar quarter. Total revenue from the segment jumped 54% year over year during the period, an acceleration from 48% growth in fiscal Q3.
Based on Apple CEO Tim Cook's comments in the company's fiscal fourth-quarter earnings call, wearables was undoubtedly a key driver for the segment. "We generated well over 50% revenue growth from Wearables, and I'm thrilled to say that we set Q4 records for Wearables in each and every market we track," he said.
More strong growth ahead
Going into fiscal 2020, there's good reason to believe Apple's wild momentum in wearables will persist, as the company's wearables product line is more impressive than it's ever been.
Just before Apple's first quarter of fiscal 2020, Apple launched a new version of its Apple Watch: Series 5. In addition, Apple cut the price of its Series 3 to just $199. With the tech giant making the feature-rich smartwatch available at an aggressive price, this could lure in more price-sensitive customers.
Then there was the surprise launch of Apple's AirPods Pro earphones in October. Including noise cancellation and a new design, the headphones are a significant improvement to the already successful original AirPods design.
Combining strong momentum in the overall wearables market and new key products in Apple's wearables lineup, it wouldn't be surprising to see the company's wearables, home, and accessories segment sustain the 50%-plus year-over-year revenue growth rate it achieved in fiscal Q4 throughout fiscal 2020.