The wearables market is set for rapid growth in the coming years, and that will be due mainly to the gadgets you put on your wrist.
Wristwear -- products that includes everything from smartwatches to fitness activity trackers that users wear around the wrist -- will dominate the wearables market over the next several years, according to a new forecast from research firm IDC.
Total worldwide wearable shipments will reach 45.7 million in 2015, up from 19.6 million last year, IDC said Monday. Of that total, nearly 90 percent will be accounted for by wristwear, with unit shipments reaching 40.7 million units.
Modular products -- devices that can be worn anywhere on the body with a clip or strap -- will nab just under 6 percent of the market with 2.6 million shipments.
The big spark for the growth will come from Apple's first wearable, a smartwatch that goes on sale next month.
"The Apple Watch raises the profile of wearables in general," said Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC's wearables team.
In February, research firm CCS Insight offered a similar prediction, saying that the Apple Watch "will be instrumental in taking the wearables market to the next level of growth," with worldwide wearable sales jumping in 2015 to, by its count, 75 million units worldwide.
Smartwatches have been available for several years from companies like Pebble, Motorola, Samsung and LG, but none has yet been able to attract widespread consumer interest. The Apple Watch will also take on fitness band rivals like FitBit and Jawbone with its own fitness-tracking capabilities.
Even as sales of wearables grow, though, gadget makers will have to make their products more than a novelty to achieve real mainstream success.
"While Apple's entry into the market is symbolic, the key to success will be to create compelling use cases for the average consumer," said Ryan Reith, program director of IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Device Trackers. "Many users will need a good reason to replace a traditional watch or accessory with a wrist-worn device or some other form of wearable that will likely require daily charging and occasional software upgrades."
The Apple Watch, which works with the iPhone 5, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, starts at $349 for the aluminum Sport model. The midrange Apple Watch will start at $549, and the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition starts at $10,000. All three models will be available in nine countries, including the US and the UK.
IDC split its study into two parts: smart wearables and basic wearables. Smart devices, or those products that can run third-party applications, like Apple Watch or Motorola's Moto 360 smartwatch, will account for 25.7 million units this year, according to the research firm. Basic wearables will hang tough at 20 million units, despite having less functionality without those extra apps.
Although wristwear will dominate in 2015, IDC sees good times ahead for other wearable categories. Clothing, for instance, will become a fast-growth segment of the wearables market as companies embed shirts, socks, and hats with smart technology. And although Google Glass has been taken off store shelves for some rejiggering, IDC says that smart eyewear will grow over the next several years, jumping from 1 million unit shipments in 2015 to 4.5 million in 2019.
The research culminates in one important conclusion: the wearables market will grow significantly in the coming years. By 2019, IDC expects 126.1 million wearables to ship worldwide. Wristwear will continue to dominate that space at 80 percent market share, followed by modular products and clothing with 5.3 percent and 4.5 percent share, respectively.
from CNET http://bit.ly/1NuJldM
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