The Widening Worldwide Reach of Wearables

wearablesThe wearables market is just starting to surge and will experience continuing growth as second- and third-generation iterations come on the market.

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC ) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, the worldwide wearable device market will reach a total of 111.1 million units shipped in 2016, up a strong 44.4 percent from the 80 million units expected to ship shipped in 2015.

In 2019, shipments could reach 214.6 million units, representing a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28 percent, reports the IDC.

“The most common type of wearables today are fairly basic, like fitness trackers, but over the next few years we expect a proliferation of form factors and device types,” said Jitesh Ubrani, a senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers. “Smarter clothing, eyewear, and even hearables (ear-worn devices) are all in their early stages of mass adoption. Though at present these may not be significantly smarter than their analog counterparts, the next generation of wearables are on track to offer vastly improved experiences and perhaps even augment human abilities.”

Smartwatches will be among the most ubiquitous, reaching a total of 34.3 million units shipped in 2016, up from the 21.3 million units expected to ship in 2015.

“In a short amount of time, smartwatches have evolved from being extensions of the smartphone to wearable computers capable of communications, notifications, applications, and numerous other functionalities,” noted Ramon Llamas, research manager for IDC’s Wearables team. “The smartwatch we have today will look nothing like the smartwatch we will see in the future. Cellular connectivity, health sensors, not to mention the explosive third-party application market all stand to change the game and will raise both the appeal and value of the market going forward.”

IDC noted that its forecast suggests Apple’s watchOS will lead the smartwatch market.

“(It) has become the measuring stick against which other smartwatches and platforms are compared,” notes IDC. “While there is much room for improvement and additional features, there is enough momentum to keep it ahead of the rest of the market.”