Juniper Forecasts Wearable Tech Market Set To Grow To $19 Billion By 2018

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Enid Burns for – Your Universe Online
The convergence of fitness and mobile technology make for a great demand. The mobile smart wearable device market is set to reach $19 billion by 2018, according to a report released by Juniper Research. The retail revenue for the market this year is $1.4 billion.
The mobile smart wearable device market is still in its early stages, which means higher prices. Juniper Research expects that the high price points for the devices will drive revenues. The market for such devices has continued to rise, causing Juniper Research to review its forecast upwards.
Two key segments in the consumer electronics market drive this rise: ‘Multimedia & Entertainment’ and ‘Multi-functional’ devices. The wearable market spans several categories for manufacturers and app developers such as health, fitness, sports and communication. To date the fitness market has seen its share of wearable devices such as Fitbit, Jawbone, Withings, as well as devices from Nike and Adidas. The wearable market has seen new interest for a broader range of devices such as smart watches, Google Glass and FiLIP – a wearable computer.
FiLIP is an app-based communication watch for children built with features such as GPS, Wi-Fi and cellular capabilities. The device helps keep parents and kids connected with two-way voice calling, messaging and location functionalities.
While there are prospects for growth in the market, there will also be hurdles. Vendors need to address critical issues from social and technological perspectives to achieve mass adoption. To date the wearable market is in the early adoption stage.
New vendors could enter the space. Fitbit, Withings and other startups are early contenders in what is set to become an increasingly crowded market when established companies enter the ring. Google, Nike and Adidas have been early to enter the market, but rumors are that others will follow.
Juniper Research says that consumers are becoming more aware of wearable technology.
“That heightened awareness has resulted in large part from reports that Apple could be getting ready to launch a new smart watch and from the actual debut of the Samsung Galaxy Gear watch,” wrote CNET‘s Don Reisinger.
It may seem like there is nowhere for the wearable market to go but up, but some are skeptical. “Given the less than stellar reviews for Samsung’s Galaxy Gear watch last month and uncertain demand for the high-priced items in this category, the Juniper forecast looks a tad optimistic. But the firm expects high price points, combined with strong demand, will lead to sharp growth in the next five years,” wrote Mark Walsh from MediaPost.
Prices, while they may remain relatively high, will likely come down as the wearable market matures.
The report comes out in the same week that Fitbit announced its Force band, the next-generation wearable activity monitor for $130. The band is $30 more expensive than the company’s Flex band, and has a number of advancements such as the ability to collect new data such as how many flights of stairs traveled. It also has a display that tells the time, and a button to toggle through data readings.