Deloitte is out with its near-term tech predictions, and they’re pretty enthusiastic about wearable tech. Their market experts say there will be $3 billion spent on 10 million units of wearable tech this year. They break it out like this:
- 4 million smart glasses as at average price of $500, mostly in consumer sales.
- 4 million fitness bands at $140, although they will not be mainstream, as their function can be duplicated by smart phones.
- 2 million smart watches, priced between $150 and $300.
This seems significantly out of whack to us. There are, right now, something like 5000 sets of Google Glass in the wild — certainly no more than 10,000 — and their price is $1500, not 500. For that to scale by two orders of magnitude in less than half a year (no one expects Glass to ship commercially before mid-year) and for the price to drop by two thirds feels beyond the realm of reasonability.
Deloitte analysts correctly break down the fitness band market into the dedicated athletes and the casual exercisers. And it’s true that many, though by no means all, of the casual band’s functions can be duplicated by a phone. But the trend we see here is that people are favoring specific devices for specific functions. The phone, which is already a telecom device, a gaming device, a music device, and a notetaking device, is getting pretty burdened. Already, with cloud-based functions, we’re seeing the phone become a communications hub for some specialized functions. We don’t think that everyone will be using fitness bands, but there’ll be lots more of those than glassware this year.
Also, Deloitte thinks that people don’t wear watches anymore. We think that’s been the trend, but we’re seeing some reverse of that. It’s a pain to dig your phone out whenever you want a time check, and people are figuring that out. There are a lot of reasons that smart watches aren’t quite there yet — like much wearable tech, they don’t actually do much — but we expect that will start to change in 2014.
So Deloitte’s $3 billion number may be right. But the distribution of markets is way off.
If you want to see the analysts say this stuff with a straight face, there’s a video:[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7am0fnBiQg]