Wearables shipments expected to grow 29%

Wearables are on the rise and are expected to grow 29 percent this year to nearly 102 million units, and that growth trajectory is expected to more than double in units shipped by 2020, according to IDC.

Unlike smartphones, the wearables category includes a disparate group of products and use cases. Watches may be the most popular and have the biggest anticipated growth, but eyewear is expected to be the most profitable.

The watch category will increase from 41 percent of total wearable shipments in 2016 to 52.1 percent in 2020, according to IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker.

While smartwatches are in the spotlight today, the report noted that future growth will come from basic watches that provide some sort of fitness/sleep tracking while not being sophisticated enough to run third-party applications on the watch itself. Growth here will come from both fitness tracking brands like Fitbit and Withings as well as traditional watch makers like Fossil.

Eyewear will get a boost, but mostly to specific industries and job functions. This category will make up less than 10 percent of wearable device shipments in 2020 but account for more than 40 percent of the total revenue of the wearables market.

Clothing will also benefit from new technology as it becomes easier to embed devices into apparel.

"Unlike the smartphone, which consolidated multiple technologies into one device, the wearables market is a collection of disparate devices," said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers. "Watches and bands are and always will be popular, but the market will clearly benefit from the emergence of additional form factors, like clothing and eyewear, that will deliver new capabilities and experiences. Eyewear has a clear focus on the enterprise as it stands to complement or replace existing computing devices, particularly for workers in the field or on the factory floor. Meanwhile, clothing will take aim at the consumer, offering the ability to capture new forms of descriptive and prescriptive data."

For more:
- see this IDC report

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