[UPDATED] Gartner observes growth in the wearable device market

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According to the Gartner research analyst group, it’s estimated there will be at least 310 million wearable devices sold across the world in 2017. There will be 41.5 million smartwatches sold in 2017 – and by 2021 they will account for 16 percent of all wearable devices, Gartner predicts. Apple might rule the smartwatch market at the moment, after Fitbit’s drastic fumble as a leader, but needs to fight to protect its status in a fickle niche vertical.

EDITOR’S NOTE (11/10/2017 4 p.m. ET): The Fitbit PR team reached out to us after reading our thoughts on the recent Gartner research. The company wanted to reiterate that there hasn’t been “a drastic fumble” and has recently reported $393M in revenue and seen sequential year-over-year growth in the U.S., EMEA, and APAC.

While the company has lost some market share, a recent report by Strategy Analytics actually shows that Xiaomi and not Apple has captured the top spot with Fitbit behind them and Apple taking the third spot. That being said, Fitbit also shared some stats from their Q3 earnings including:

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  • Ionic and Blaze are #1 and #2 bestselling smartwatches on Amazon
  • Charge 2 remains #1 selling tracker in U.S. (NPD)
  • Continuing to experience a strong upgrade cycle; 42% of activations in Q3 came from repeat customers
  • Fitbit remains #1 downloaded health and fitness app on iOS and Android in the U.S.

We’ve also added the Editorial category as we should have included in the first place.


Even so, Samsung, LG, Sony, Asus, Huawei, and other manufacturers don’t have the same consumer appeal with their smartwatches… yet.

“Smartwatches are on pace to achieve the greatest revenue potential among all wearables through 2021, reaching $17.4 billion,” said Angela McIntyre, Gartner research director.

In the future, the complete wearables vertical, driven by smartwatches and smart fashion, will nearly double in size over the next five years according to IDC. Consumers can expect to see increased effort to fine-tune both software and hardware used in products. A decline in prices and increased selection of connected prices should draw a larger possible customer base.

Apple might rule the smartwatch market at the moment, after Fitbit’s drastic fumble as a leader, but needs to fight to protect its status in a fickle niche vertical.

It’s been a mixed bag of results for companies that jumped into wearables, with some companies finding success — while other firms bowed out. Hardware giant Intel shifted focus from smartwatches and fitness trackers, laying off employees, to help make way for a larger push into augmented reality.

Technology makers aren’t solely focused on consumer products, including additional uses for medical wearables, as an example. Tracking mental health with digital tools, monitoring blood sugar levels, checking blood pressure, and similar tech-driven initiatives that can be aided by wearable advancements.

Do you own any wearables? If so, which ones do you like best? What do you think of this latest Gartner report? Do you think the market will continue to grow? Let us know in the comments below or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.

[button link=”http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3790965/#.WaZB98iGPIU” icon=”fa-external-link” side=”left” target=”blank” color=”285b5e” textcolor=”ffffff”]Source: Gartner[/button]

Last Updated on November 11, 2017.


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