The worldwide wearables market will increase by 15.3% this year says market researcher IDC. Looking forward, smartwatches, ear-worn devices and smart clothes are expected to lead the charge.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
Shipments will reach 198.5 million units this year, according to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker report. About a half of this will be from smartwatch sales with most of the remainder split equally between ear-wear and fitness bands.
The steady growth is expected to continue in the years to come. In 2023 shipments of wearables will total 279 million units. Smartwatches will increase their share of the market slightly, but the star performer will be ear-worn devices. The inclusion of biometric sensors and smart assistants will give them a boost, says IDC.
“The rise of smart assistants on wearables, both wrist-worn and ear-worn, is a trend worth watching,” said IDC research manager Jitesh Ubrani in a press release.
“Though still in its infancy, the integration of these assistants with wearables opens up new use cases, from allowing these devices to tie into the smart home to making the devices more proactive at urging users to live healthier or more productive lives.”
Apple will lead the way when it comes to smartwatch sales and WatchOS will make up 27.5% of all such devices in 2023. Hybrid and kids’ watches will also see growth, but at a slower pace.
Once a darling, fitness trackers are only expected to climb from 49 to 50.4 million annual units shipped during this period. This equates to a compound annual growth of 0.7%. In dollar value, growth will actually decline as average prices of activity bands fall from $51 in 2019 to $42 in 2023.
Connected clothing is expected to see the highest rate of growth, albeit from a very low base. Products such as step-counting shoes are currently popular in China. That is changing, though, as brands such as Nike and Under Armour make headway in other markets.
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