Smartwatches and smart bands continue to dominate the wearable technology market, and are predicted to account for 87 per cent of all wearables shipped in 2018
Shipments of smart wearable devices are expected to soar over the next four years, with wrist-worn devices such as smartwatches and smart bands accounting for the vast majority of sales.
By 2018, over 250 million smart wearables will be in use – 14 times more than in 2013, according to CCS Insight’s new global forecast. Over half (135 million) of these will be shipped in 2018 alone.
Wrist-worn devices will account for 87 per cent of wearables shipped in 2018, comprising 68 million smartwatches and 50 million smart bands with no screen or with a minimal, one-line display.
Wearables that track fitness and well-being are the fastest-growing category, according to CCS Insight, because of their clear purpose, user benefits and increasingly affordable prices.
Marina Koytcheva, CCS Insight’s director of forecasting, said wearables are poised to be the perfect gift for the person who has everything this Christmas, but that that the market is “in its Stone Age right now”.
“There needs to be huge improvements to broaden their appeal,” she said. “This is particularly acute when it comes to devices for women: wearables need to quickly move on from black, clunky devices.”
North America currently leads the way in terms of adoption of wearables: 5.2 million wearables were sold in North America in 2013, and over 40 per cent of all wearable devices currently in use are there.
This is partially because many wearable companies are based in North America, but also because the region has proven eager to adopt new technology.
However, Western Europe is catching up and from 2016 is expected to buy more wearables than North America. Adoption will be slower in emerging markets and primarily driven by tech-savvy, affluent users.
“The market could be changed beyond recognition if a major player like Apple decides to get into the game,” said Koytcheva. “History shows us that when Apple enters a market it can reshape the way people think about a product.”