IDC report forecasts wearable devices to reach 45.7 million units in 2015.
The combination of new vendors, devices and greater consumer awareness will likely drive the global wearables market this year, a new IDC report has revealed. The research firm notes that vendors will ship a total of 45.7 million units in 2015, up a strong 133.4% from the 19.6 million units shipped in 2014. By 2019, total shipment volumes are forecasted to surpass 126 million units, leading to a five-year CAGR of 45.1%.
Fueling this rapid growth in 2015 will be an increased focus on smart wearables, or those devices capable of running third-party applications. These include devices like the Apple Watch, Motorola’s Moto 360, and Samsung’s Gear watches. The total volume of smart wearables will reach 25.7 million units over the next eight months, up a whopping 510.9% from the 4.2 million units shipped last year. Basic wearables, or those that don’t run third party applications, will also jump from 15.4 million units in 2014 to 20 million units in 2015.
“The Apple Watch raises the profile of wearables in general and there are many vendors and devices that are eager to share the spotlight. Basic wearables, meanwhile, will not disappear. In fact, we anticipate continued growth here as many segments of the market seek out simple, single-use wearable devices,” explained Ramon Llamas, researcher with IDC’s Wearables team.
Still, gadgets that users adorn on their wrists will dominate the market over the next couple of years. These include everything from smartwatches to fitness bands. IDC reveals that wristwear will account for more than four in five device shipments throughout the forecasted timeframe.
Another area worth monitoring is modular products, or devices that can be worn anywhere on the body with a clip or strap. These wearables will make up just about 6% of the market with 2.6 million shipments. Not far behind is smart clothing, which is expected to experience a major uptick as companies begin embedding garments like shirts, socks and hats with computing power. This doesn’t come as much surprise, especially following Gartner’s report last year that said less invasive, electronic textiles will potentially disrupt the wearables space so much so that embedded clothing shipments would rise from a mere 0.1 million units in 2014 to over 26 million units in 2016.
Eyewear and earwear (or what we like to call ‘hearables’) round out the list with 2.2% and 0.1% market share, respectively. However, IDC researchers do point out that 4.5 million smart glasses are projected to be shipped in 2019.
“The explosion of wearable devices was clearly led by fitness bands, which until recently commanded prices that provided comfortable margins, but those days are changing,” added Ryan Reith, Program Director with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Device Trackers. “The price of these fitness bands have come down so significantly in some markets that smartphone OEMs are now bundling them with smartphones at little cost. Meanwhile, the market is quickly shifting toward higher-priced devices that offer greater functionality. While Apple’s entry into the market is symbolic, the key to success will be to create compelling use cases for the average consumer. Many users will need a good reason to replace a traditional watch or accessory with a wrist-worn device or some other form of wearable that will likely require daily charging and occasional software upgrades.”