Wearable shipments to double in 5 years fuelled by smartwatches and earbuds

Shipments of wearables are set to grow 17% in 2017 and will double by 2022 according to a new research report by Gartner.

A total of 310.4 million devices will be sold this year, generating some $30.5 billion in revenue. About a third of this is expected to come from the smartwatch subcategory. A plethora of new devices are expected in the coming months including the Apple Watch Series 3, Fitbit’s first smartwatch, the Garmin Vivoactive 3, Samsung Gear Sport, many devices across Fossil brands and much more. Some of these will make their debut at next week’s IFA in Berlin.

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A total of 41.5 million smartwatches will be sold this year, along with 21.4 million sports watches and 44.1 million fitness trackers. Out of the three, smartwatches are expected to show the strongest growth in terms of volumes shipped. The annual smartwatch revenue is, however, expected to fall slightly.

“The overall ASP of the smartwatch category will drop from $223.25 in 2017 to $214.99 in 2021 as higher volumes lead to slight reductions in manufacturing and component costs,” said Angela McIntyre, Gartners’s research director.

“but strong brands such as Apple and Fossil will keep pricing consistent with price bands of traditional watches.”

Gartner expects Apple will continue to dominate the smartwatch category. But as more providers enter the market increased competition is expected to eat into its one third share of the market to a just quarter in 2021.

Bluetooth headphones will remain the biggest sub-category, with shipments rising from 150 million units in 2017 to 206 million units in 2022. This will be driven by the elimination of the headphone jack by most major smartphone providers.

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Elsewhere, other categories are expected to show strong growth, albeit from a lower base. This includes head-mounted displays and body worn cameras. Interestingly, Gartner sees kids smartwatches with smartphone capability a segment of the market with lots of potential. These are wearables that are likely to be popular with parents who do not yet want their children to have a fully fledged smartphone.

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