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Mark Peters : June 24th 2017 - 10:25 CET

Market forecast for smart wearable products


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IDCIDC forecast report for wearables : Smart Wearables market to nearly double by 2021, according to IDC. As the wearables market transforms, total shipment volumes are expected to maintain their forward momentum. According to the latest data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, manufacturers will ship a total of 125.5 million wearable products this year, marking a 20.4% increase from the 104.3 million units shipped in 2016. From there, the wearables market will nearly double before reaching a total of 240.1 million units shipped in 2021, resulting in a five-year CAGR of 18.2%. New business opportunities exist for developers and channel partners to provide the apps, services, and distribution that will support the growing abundance of wearables.
Smart watches

Smart watches
We anticipate that smartwatches will account for the majority of all wearable devices shipped during the forecast period. However, a closer look shows that basic watches (devices that do not run third party applications, including hybrid watches, fitness watches, GPS watches, and most kid watches) will continue out-shipping smart watches (devices capable of running third party applications, like Apple Watch, Samsung Gear, and all Android Wear devices).

Smartwatch with cellular connectivity
Traditional smartwatch vendors shift more resources to building hybrid watches, creating a greater 'Total Available Market' each year. Smart watches, however, will see a boost in volumes in 2019 as cellular connectivity becomes more prevalent on the market.

Wrist bands

Wrist bands
Once the overall leaders of the wearables market, wristbands will see slowing growth in the years ahead. The sudden softness in the wristband market witnessed at the end of 2016 will carry into subsequent quarters and year, but the market will be propped up with low-cost devices with good enough features for the mass market. In addition, users will transition to watches for additional utility and multi-purpose use.

Smart earwear

Smart earwear
We are not counting Bluetooth headsets whose only task is to bring voice calls to the user. Instead, we are counting those wearable devices that bring additional functionality, and sends information back and forth to a smartphone application.

Examples include Bragi’s Dash and Samsung Gear Icon X. In most cases, the additional feature centers on collecting fitness data about the user, but can also include real-time audio filtering or language translation.

Smart clothing

Smart clothing
The smart clothing market took a strong step forward, thanks to numerous vendors in China providing shirts, belts, shoes, socks, and other connected apparel. While consumers have yet to fully embrace connected clothing, professional athletes and organizations have warmed to their usage to improve player performance.

The upcoming release of Google and Levi’s Project Jacquared-enabled smart jacket stands to change that this year.

Other wearable devices
We include lesser known products like clip-on devices, non-Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality eyewear, and others into this category. While we do not expect an immense amount of growth in this segment, it will nonetheless bear watching as numerous vendors cater to niche audiences with creative new wearable devices and uses.

Smart wearables

Market forecast for smart wearables
"The wearables market is entering a new phase," points out Ramon T. Llamas, research manager for IDC’s Wearables team. "Since the market’s inception, it’s been a matter of getting product out there to generate awareness and interest. Now it’s about getting the experience right - from the way the hardware looks and feels to how software collects, analyzes, and presents insightful data. What this means for users is that in the years ahead, they will be treated to second- and third-generation devices that will make the today’s devices seem quaint. Expect digital assistants, cellular connectivity, and connections to larger systems, both at home and at work. At the same time, expect to see a proliferation in the diversity of devices brought to market, and a decline in prices that will make these more affordable to a larger crowd."




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