Wearable tech market tipped to be worth 133 million units in 2022

Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch Series 3.

The amount of smartwatch shipments is set to spike as consumers ‘finally’ recognise the benefits of the technology, a new industry report has claimed.

According to a market intelligence firm IDC, worldwide shipments of wearable devices are on track to grow 15.1% in 2018, totalling 132.9 million units over the course of the year.

The overall market is also expected to deliver a CAGR of 13.4% over the next five years, culminating in 219.4 million units shipped in 2022, according to the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker.


“Consumers are finally starting to understand and demand the utility of a smartwatch,” said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers.

“At present, fitness uses lead by a mile but mobile payments and messaging are starting to catch on. The addition of cellular connectivity is also starting to resonate with early adopters and looking ahead the emergence of new use cases like music streaming or additional health sensors will make cellular connectivity pivotal to the success of the smartwatch.”

Ramon T. Llamas, research director for IDC’s Wearables team, added: “The appetite for wristbands and basic watches will not go away.”

“Both products will enjoy sustained popularity as users’ first wearable thanks to their simplicity and lower price points and will reach new audiences as part of digital health solutions (wristbands) or for those who want wearable technology but prefer the traditional look and feel of a hybrid watch.”

With watches and wristbands in the spotlight, wearables in other form factors will capture a minority share of the market, although this share will continue to grow during the forecast period.

Over half of all smartwatches in 2017 were shipped by Apple, and while the company will maintain its lead in this category, competing products from the likes of Fitbit, Garmin, and all the Wear OS (previously Android Wear) vendors will gain traction over time.

Another growing sub-segment within this category are smartwatches dedicated to kids, though these will largely be relegated to China. Smartwatches are also expected to have the highest average selling price and are forecast to account for more than two-thirds of the dollar-value of the entire wearables market.

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