Image source: Fitbit

Slower growth for wearables in 2018, but ramping up again from next year

Wearable sales may take a pause for breath this year before ramping up again through 2022 according to market researcher IDC.

Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets

The worldwide wearables market is forecast to ship 122.6 million units by the end of this year, a 6.2% increase on 2017. This will be the first single digit growth year since the segment emerged. IDC puts this down to continuing softness amongst fitness trackers. Double-digit growth should, however, return from next year as smartwatches and new form factors gain acceptance.

“The shift from basic wearables to smartwatches is well on its way,” Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst at IDC, said in a press release.

Still, fitness bands will have their place as a cheaper, simpler option, and in some cases they’ll beef up their offerings.

By 2022, IDC expects smartwatch shipments will increase by nearly two-thirds, clocking in at 121.1 million units. Fitbit Versa was recently launched as the first “mass-appeal” smartwatches to target the sub-$200 price band and more options are to come in the next six to twelve months.

Earwear and smart clothing are also poised for a large increases, albeit from much lower levels. Fitness tracker, on the other hand, will continue to play an important role in the market but their sales should stay mostly flat in the coming years.

slower growth for wearables in 2018 but picking up pace from next year thanks to smartwatches - Slower growth for wearables in 2018, but ramping up again from next year

“We also expect these devices will bring a more smartwatch-like experiences to the table,” Ramon Llamas, research director for IDC’s Wearables team, said in the release.

“Meanwhile, clothing and earwear will post market-beating growth with use cases that go well beyond their primary functions.”

The Apple Watch should continue to dominate the wearables market, though its market share will slide by about 10%, IDC added. Android-driven gadgets are expected to gain market share.

slower growth for wearables in 2018 but picking up pace from next year thanks to smartwatches 1 - Slower growth for wearables in 2018, but ramping up again from next year

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