The wearables market is building momentum. ZDnet reports that this market will experience continued growth over the next three years, with smartwatches, particularly the Apple Watch, dominating this space.
Forecasts predict that global shipments of wearable devices will hit 125.3 million units this year, an increase of 8.5 percent from 2017, per calculations by tech analyst IDC. IDC forecasts 189.9 million wearables will be sold in 2022. This rate of growth will dwarf that of either PCs or smartphones.
For IDC, clothing and ‘earwear’ are included among wearables, although currently watches and wristbands still constitute the major categories. The 2018 forecast for watches is 72.8 million units, the bulk of which would be smartwatches although sales of hybrid watches and some basic kids’ would also continue. The wristband category, while slowing, is still a point of entry for wearable first-timers. Overall, watches are forecast to constitute more than half of wearables sales for the year.
WatchOS, the operating system behind the Apple Watch, is predicted to retain its lead among the smart wearable operating systems, though IDC forecast its market share will shrink from 44.4 percent in 2018 to 35.8 percent in 2022 as competition heats up. Their forecast places Android as the runner-up OS with 22.4 percent share in 2022, followed by Google's Wear OS, which will capture 19.8 percent share in 2022.
According to Ramon T. Llamas, research director for IDC's Wearables team, smartwatch operating systems will prioritize easing access to actionable data and creating a new means of communication for users.
"Smartwatch operating systems will emphasize connection, not only between users but between wearers and other smart devices and systems...expect further developments focusing on health, with the smartwatch playing a critical role in tracking your health goals and detecting potential ailments."
"Smartwatch operating systems will emphasize connection, not only between users but between wearers and other smart devices and systems...expect further developments focusing on health, with the smartwatch playing a critical role in tracking your health goals and detecting potential ailments," Llamas said.
As traditional headphone jacks go the way of the past and biometric tracking is introduced to wireless headphones, IDC expects earwear to make gains in the wearable market. Though it currently constitutes less than two percent of the market, this figure is expected to reach a 6.8 percent share in 2022.