IDC says the worldwide market for wearable technology is up 163.6 percent from 2014, to a total of 76.1 million units to be sold this year. By 2019, the market research house says, shipments will reach 173 million, a five-year CAGR of 22.9 percent.
About a third of that consists of sales of what IDC called “smart wearables,” more powerful devices like the Apple Watch or Android Wear devices. Two-thirds are fitness devices, including market-leading Fitbit. By 2018, though, IDC expects smart wearables sales to surpass fitness devices, due to advances in user interface and increasing power that will rely less on tethered smartphones. Here’s the chart, although you may need to refresh your browser to see it.
IDC’s dividing line between “smart” and “basic” seems to depend more on technology than function. Pebble, the company says, makes “smart” devices, presumably because its platform allows expansion into multiple functions. Fitbit, which makes devices that are in many ways more sophisticated than Pebble’s, is “basic.”
The researcher’s projections of grown in the “smart” segment are pretty interesting. By 2019, it says, Android Wear will dramatically increase its market presence, growing by a compounded 67 percent and doubling its market share. WatchOS is projected to grow at a 31 percent rate, ending with just under half the market.