Wearables market to grow 173 percent this year: IDC

Wearables market to grow 173 percent this year: IDC

Wearables like smartwatches and smart fitness bands already getting positive response from the market. But now, a new forecast by research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) reveals that the wearables market will grow 173.3 percent this year with estimated shipments of 72.1 million units.

The forecast report says that shipment volumes will experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 42.6 percent over the five-year forecast period, reaching 155.7 million units shipped in 2019.

The research firm has divided the wearables market into two major segments – basic wearables that includes fitness bands and activity trackers and smart wearables that mainly comprises smartwatches and smart wrist bands which run third-party apps.

According to the forecast, the basic wearable segment will grow 76 percent this year with shipments of 39 million units. The smart wearable segment, on the other hand, will see a strong 683 percent growth with estimated shipments of 33.1 million units.

“The demand for basic wearables, those that do not run third-party apps, has been absolutely astounding,” said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst, Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers. “Vendors like Fitbit and Xiaomi have helped propel the market with their sub-$100 bands, and IDC expects this momentum will continue throughout 2015.”

Apple Watch

Apple Watch

“Smart wearables like the Apple Watch and Micosoft’s Hololens are indicative of an upcoming change in computing, and the transition from basic to smart wearables opens up a slew of opportunities for vendors, app developers, and accessory makers,” he added.

Smart wearables are based on certain software platforms as Apple has its watchOS for the Apple Watch, Google has Android Wear for some of the popular smartwatches and Samsung has its Tizen operating system for Galaxy range of wearables.

“Growth in the smart wearables market points to an emerging battleground among competing platforms,” said Ramon Llamas, research manager, Wearables. “Android Wear, Tizen, and WatchOS are moving ahead with improved user interfaces, user experiences, and applications. These will raise the expectations of what a smart wearable can do, and each platform is vying for best-in-class status. We’re not there yet, but we’re seeing the building blocks of what is to come.”

Companies like Xiaomi are getting huge success in the basic wearable segment, while some emerging companies such as Micromax-backed Yu Televentures are also in development to offer their competitive products to gain from the wearables market.

In the first quarter, as reported by IDC, wearables shipment grew 200 percent despite the pending launch of the Apple Watch. Fitbit led the market with shipping 3.9 million wearable device units that include its newly launched Fitbit Charge, Fitbit Charge HR and Fitbit Surge. After Fitbit, Xiaomi reached to the second position with its highly affordable Mi Band that resulted a market share of 24.6 percent.

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