The growing popularity of smartwatches and greater adoption in emerging markets will drive 11 per cent growth in wearables shipments in the period to 2022, research company IDC predicted.
Unit shipments will increase from 125.3 million in 2018 to 189.9 million at the end of the five-year period. This year’s total marks an increase of 8.5 per cent from 2017.
Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC’s Mobile Device Trackers, said basic wearables (including fitness trackers) and smart trackers will “approach parity” in terms of market share by 2022.
“The rise of smart wearables will not just be in mature markets, but also from emerging markets in Asia Pacific and elsewhere.”
Apple’s WatchOS will remain in the lead, although its share of the market will decrease to 35.8 per cent from 44.4 per cent as other platforms gain traction.This will be followed by Android, with a 22.4 per cent stake.
Android will actually be more popular than Google’s wearables-focused WearOS platform, as it will offer vendors the chance to customise and differentiate devices, including in China, where Google’s services are banned. WearOS will occupy third place with 19.8 per cent share, as more vendors offer products and platform capabilities improve.
The rest of the market will use other platforms, with Samsung, Fitbit and Garmin set for strength with their own technologies.
Watches are expected to account for 120.2 million shipments in 2022, growing faster than the market with a compound annual rate of 13.3 per cent. Outside of smartwatches, hybrid and childrens’ watches will continue to ship in large volumes, although growth is expected to be flat.
Likewise, growth in the wristband category will be “muted” at 0.3 per cent. But they will still represent 24.7 per cent of the market in 2022 with total volumes of 47 million, with the products “acting as a stepping stone into the wearables market for first time buyers” and “serving as simpler alternatives for smart watches”.
Earwear will take a 6.8 per cent share of the market in 2022, compared with less than 2 per cent in 2018, with growth largely attributable to the removal of the headphone jack from devices. Vendors are also adding biometric tracking to such devices, which will help further growth.Subscribe to our daily newsletter