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Home > News > Company News > Wearables on a roll, says IDC

Wearables on a roll, says IDC

  • Author:Ella Cai
  • Release on:2017-06-23
125.5 million wearable devices will be shipped this year, says IDC, marking a 20.4% increase from the 104.3 million units shipped in 2016.

IDC expects the  wearables market will nearly double before reaching a total of 240.1 million units shipped in 2021 – a five-year CAGR of 18.2%.

Watches: IDC  anticipates that watches 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/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), as numerous traditional watch makers shift more resources to building hybrid watches, creating a greater TAM each year. 
Smart watches, however, will see a boost in volumes in 2019 as cellular connectivity becomes more prevalent on the market.

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.

Earwear: IDC does not count Bluetooth headsets whose only task is to bring voice calls to the user. Instead, it counts those 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.

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 jacket stands to change that this year.

Others: IDC includes lesser known products like clip-on devices, non-AR/VR 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 devices and uses.