The International Data Corporation (IDC) has forecast that wearables demand will surge in the coming years, driven by demand for smart wearables, with Android Wear devices to more than double market share through to 2019.The IDC has forecast that wearable shipments will reach 76.1 million units in 2015, up 163.6 per cent from 28.9 million units shipped last year, and that by 2019 worldwide shipments will reach 173.4 million units.
“Smart wearables only account for about a third of the total market today, while basic wearables, led by fitness trackers, account for the rest,” Jitesh Ubrani, IDC Mobile Device Trackers senior research analyst, commented.
“Driven by advancements in user interface (UI) and features, smart wearables are on track to surpass the lower-priced, less functional 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.”
Smart wristwear, including watches and bands, capable of running third-party applications – such as the Apple Watch, Motorola’s Moto 360, Samsung’s Gear S-series and Pebble’s Time – are driving the market.
“We are at a stage now where more vendors are getting into this segment, setting the stage for more selection and ultimately more volumes,” Ramon Llamas, IDC Wearables research manager, commented.
“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.”
Llamas noted that, looking ahead, “customers will need to pay close attention to the different operating systems” powering smart wristwear.
“Different smart wristwear operating systems are compatible with certain smartphone operating systems, and sometimes with specific models,” he commented.
“Beyond that, experiences and available applications will widely vary. Just as competition exists for different smart wristwear models, this competition carries over into the operating system landscape.”
While watchOS, in its first year in the market, is quickly establishing itself as the overall leader in smart wristwear, the IDC expects Android Wear to gain ground through to 2019.
The IDC expects second and third generations of the Apple Watch will drive shipment volumes later in the forecast, while a combination of consumer electronics players and an expanding list of watchmaker brands will drive Android Wear growth.
The IDC expects watchOS to capture a 58.3 per cent market share in 2015, shipping 13.9 million units, dropping to 47.4 per cent in 2019 and shipping 40.3 million units, with Android Wear to take a 17.4 per cent market share in 2015, shipping 4.1 million units, and 38.4 per cent in 2019, shipping 32.6 million units.
Among the other operating systems, the IDC expects Pebble OS to lose market share but record shipment growth, capturing 8.7 per cent of the market this year, shipping 2.1 million units, dropping to 3.1 per cent of the market in 2019, shipping 2.6 million units.