“Growth in the smart wearables market points to an emerging battleground among competing platforms.”
An estimated 72.1 million wearable devices are expected to ship this year, IDC researchers have revealed in their latest report. If that’s the case, the number would surge 173% from the 26.4 million wearables delivered back in 2014. Moving ahead, the firm forecasts a CAGR of 42.6% over the course of the next five years, bringing the total shipped in 2019 to 155.7 million.
According to the report, nearly four in 10 wearables are now priced under $100. However, IDC expects devices classified as “smart wearables,” which refers to those capable of running third-party apps, to take the lead in 2016. These include gadgets like the Apple Watch and Micosoft’s Hololens that are believed to open up endless opportunities for vendors, app developers and accessory makers.
“The demand for basic wearables, those that do not run third party apps, has been absolutely astounding,” said Jitesh Ubrani, IDC senior research analyst. “Vendors like Fitbit and Xiaomi have helped propel the market with their sub-$100 bands, and IDC expects this momentum will continue throughout 2015.”
While the demand for more basic wearable devices, such as watches, fitness bands and eyewear, may have gotten off to a slower start, the market has certainly matured over the past couple of months with a wider range of products and improved consumer adoption.
Though shipments for the so-called basic wearables came in at 22.1 million in 2014, this segment will also continue to grow with 39 million projected for this year and 66.3 million by 2019. Meanwhile, smart wearables — which only stood at 4.2 million in 2014 — will rise to an incredible 89.4 million throughout the five year period.
“Growth in the smart wearables market points to an emerging battleground among competing platforms,” added Ramon Llamas, IDC research manager. “Android Wear, Tizen, and WatchOS are moving ahead with improved user interfaces, user experiences, and applications. These will raise the expectations of what a smart wearable can do, and each platform is vying for best-in-class status. We’re not there yet, but we’re seeing the building blocks of what is to come.”