Growing popularity of smartwatches and expanded interest in emerging markets will lead wearable growth into 2022, according to a forecast from market researcher IDC.
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The International Data Corporation’s (IDC’s) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker is projecting double-digit growth for the category in the next four years. Shipments will reach 189.9 million units in 2022 from 125.3 million units in 2018. This represents an annual growth rate of 11%. The firm has scaled a bit its projection from June, when it said it said shipments would hit 199.8 million by the end of 2021.
It is mostly smartwatches that will be fueling this increase. Their shipments are expected to reach 72.8 million units this year or nearly 60% of the total. This will increase to 120.2 million by 2022. The transition from basic wearables to smart wearables will continue, so wristbands will only see a marginal increase during this period to 47 million units shipped.
In terms of wearable operating systems, WatchOS will keep its top spot although its share is expected to shrink from 44.4% in 2018 to 35.8% in 2022. Android devices will capture 22.4% of the market by the end of the forecast period, followed by WearOS 19.8%. The small remainder will be comprised of Samsung, Fitbit and Garmin with their proprietary platforms.
“Smartwatch operating systems will emphasize connection, not only between users but between wearers and other smart devices and systems,” said Ramon Llamas, research director at IDC, in a press release.
“Expect further developments focusing on health with the smartwatch playing a critical role in tracking your health goals and detecting potential ailments.”
Another major factor driving growth in the next few years will be interest from developing markets. This will particularly help fuel sales of lower priced devices.
“The rise of smart wearables will not just be in mature markets, but also from emerging markets in Asia/Pacific and elsewhere,” senior analyst Jitesh Ubrani wrote in the report.
“Japan will play an equally important role as they consume more than one third of all smart wearables.”
It certainly seems there are some bright times ahead for the wearables market. This is in contrast to the already maturing smartphone market which is expected to decline for the first time in 2018. Meanwhile, PC sales have been flat for a number of years now, while tablet sales are on the decline.
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