The wearable computing market is expected to more than triple this year, and will likely continue growing by double digits through at least 2018.
Sales of items like Fitbit devices, Nike+ FuelBands and other “smart” wearables — including Google Glass, to be sold in the US for one day only on April 15 — will surpass 19 million units in 2014, according to new research from International Data Corporation (IDC). By 2018, the market will reach nearly 112 million units, representing a compound annual growth rate of 78.4 percent.
For now, the largest segment of the market will be represented by what IDC calls “complex accessories.” These include activity trackers like FuelBand and Fitbit, which are relatively inexpensive devices compared to, say, Google Glass, which is priced at $1500.
“Complex accessories have succeeded in drawing much-needed interest and attention to a wearables market that has had some difficulty gaining traction,” said Ramon Llamas, IDC’s research manager for mobile phones. “The increased buzz has prompted more vendors to announce their intentions to enter this market. Most importantly, end-users have warmed to their simplicity in terms of design and functionality, making their value easy to understand and use.”
After these devices, the next segment expected to gain momentum is the “smart accessories” market. The last area to see widespread adoption will be “smart wearables” such as Google Glass.
To attract a large number of adopters, smart wearables “must convince users to shift to a new user experience while offering them a robust selection of third-party applications,” IDC stated, adding, “It is not a question of ‘if,’ but ‘when’…”