The worldwide market for wearable devices will more than double this year, with consumer demand in particular being fueled by smart watches and bands, according to a new survey from IDC.
The research firm predicts in its latest Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker that wearable device shipments will reach 76.1 million units in 2015, up 163.6% from the 28.9 million units shipped in 2014. By 2019, worldwide shipments will reach 173.4 million units, resulting in a five-year compound annual growth rate of 22.9%.
Smart wearables still only account for about a third of the total wearable devices market while lower-priced basic wearables, led by fitness trackers, account for the rest. But IDC expects smart wearables, driven by advancements in user interface and features, to surpass the basic wearable category in 2018.
“Smart wearables will quickly move from a smartphone accessory primarily focused on notifications to a more advanced wearable computer capable of doing more processing on its own,” Jitesh Ubrani, a senior research analyst at IDC, said in a news release.
IDC highlighted the growth of smart wristwear, including the Apple Watch, Motorola’s Moto 360, Samsung’s Gear S-series, and Pebble’s Time.
“We are at a stage now where more vendors are getting into this segment, setting the stage for more selection and ultimately more volumes,” said Ramon Llamas, IDC’s research manager for wearables. “Potential buyers wary of what is currently available will most likely be more interested once the second- and third-generation devices come to market with improved hardware and applications. From there, word-of-mouth and user-ambassadors will help to spur interest.”
Of the smart wristwear operating systems, IDC said Apple’s watchOS currently dominates the market with a 58.3% share, but its market share will “erode as other platforms — particularly Android Wear — gain greater salience in the market.”