Wearable tech is a fairly new category in the technology market but it is making some great strides. There are hits and misses just like any other market, but both hits and misses are learning experiences for the industry. Futuresource Consulting is estimating that the wearable tech is on track to surpass eight billion dollars in 2013 and is sure to grow in 2014.
“Many wearable devices are currently companion devices to other smart devices, in particular smartphones,” says Oliver Rowntree, Research Analyst at Futuresource Consulting. “It’s likely this will largely remain the case over the forecast period.”
“Fitness devices are by far the most mature market, making up 97% of the projected value in 2013, though this will fall dramatically as smartwatch and smartglasses categories develop and products ship with embedded sensors that track and analyse movements and activity, cannibalising some the functionality of dedicated fitness products.”
“The connected watch category will be the most significant growth area within wearable technology over the forecast period and Futuresource projects a combined wireless watch and smartwatch market of around 0.9 million units in 2013, with more than 60% of this accounted for by smartwatches.”
Futuresource predicts that smartwatch growth will outpace smartglasses growth in 2014 simply because the first consumer smartglass products will just be made available in 2014. According to the research, Futuresource forecasts that in 2014 there will be less than one million smartglasses sold, growing to almost seven million by 2017, with a total retail value closing in on two billion dollars. This assumes the entrance into the market of a large number of key CE brands by 2015, though uptake will initially be limited to a fairly niche, tech-savvy portion of consumers.
“One significant question with smartglasses is the degree of autonomy the devices will have – whether they will be devices that are paired with another or whether they will be standalone,” says Rowntree. “Furthermore, unless wearable devices develop to fulfil much of the function of other devices such as smartphones, uptake will be more limited in emerging markets. As with specialist fitness wearables, without the functionality of smartphones they are relatively niche luxury products.”
Futuresource also predicts that consumer awareness and acceptance will steadily increase concerning wearable tech. Which could lead the industry, into 2017, being worth over twenty billion dollars. We think wearable tech is the future, the forms it is now may change over time and what we are seeing now are just glints of what is to come.