Wearable Market Grows As The Technology Becomes More 'Wearable'
April 11, 2014

Wearable Market Grows As The Technology Becomes More ‘Wearable’

Enid Burns for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online

Wearable computing devices have increasingly become more mainstream and the increase in interest is helping the wearable computing market build momentum. Shipments for the year are set to reach 19.2 million, according to a recent forecast from IDC.

The market for wearables is expanding beyond early adopters, which is due to more functional and stylish designs, as well as exposure in the media. These factors will help the category grow over the next several years. IDC forecasts that unit shipments will more than triple sales of last year to top 19 million units in 2014. By 2018, analysts expect shipments to reach 111.9 million units, a compound adjustable growth rate of 78.4 percent.

The first category, complex devices, are devices that are able to function on their own, but is fully functional when connected to a second device such as a smartphone, reports SlashGear.

"Complex accessories (e.g., Nike+ FuelBand, Jawbone UP, and Fitbit devices) will lead the wearables market through 2018 as users continue to embrace their simplicity and low price points. These devices are designed to operate partially independent of any other device, but fully operate when connected with IP-capable devices such as a smartphone, tablet, or a PC," said an IDC corporate statement on the report.

"Complex accessories have succeeded in drawing much-needed interest and attention to a wearables market that has had some difficulty gaining traction," said Ramon Llamas, Research Manager, Mobile Phones, in a statement from IDC. "The increased buzz has prompted more vendors to announce their intentions to enter this market. Most importantly, end-users have warmed to their simplicity in terms of design and functionality, making their value easy to understand and use."

Smart accessories are also expected to gain momentum alongside wearables. These smart accessories are devices that need to be connected to IP-capable devices to operate. A third segment of the wearables market is smart wearables such as Google Glass. Both smart accessories and smart wearables rely on a connection to a device such as a smartphone in order to function. These two categories are still seeing early entries and have not yet made it past the early adopter stage.

"To succeed, smart wearable vendors must convince users to shift to a new user experience while offering them a robust selection of third-party applications. It is not a question of 'if, but 'when' wearables as a whole will extend into the enterprise," the report said.

This is the first time that IDC has divided the wearables market into three categories, ComputerWorld reports.

Among wearables manufacturers, Samsung is viewed as the most trusted brand ahead of competitors including Apple, Sony and Google -- that's according to the IDC ConsumerScape 360° survey of more than 50,000 consumers in 26 countries. Apple is expected to enter the wearable market some time next year, ComputerWorld reports, after a product announcement some time in 2014.

Samsung continues to develop new technologies for wearable devices, even as its current generation devices are gaining adoption. Earlier this week it came out that Samsung could use graphene in future wearable devices as it has developed a faster method for producing the material.