Wearables for fitness and health are becoming commonplace. I often notice a smartwatch or fitness band on others I meet on a typical day. According to IDC, unit sales of these devices are predicted to grow over the next four years.
It may be surprising to find that shipments of smartwatches are expected to nearly double over this period, reaching nearly 90 million units per year in 2020. This represents an impressive compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly 20%. Within this growth, the market share of the Google Wear OS devices is anticipated to jump from 12% to 22% within this segment, at the expense of a decline in Apple watchOS share from 46% to 39%. The share for Android devices is expected to remain fairly steady at 18% to 20%. In contrast to the smartwatch segment, the fitness band market is forecast to remain about the same over the period. Part of the difference in performance between the two groups may be that smartwatches often perform the same functions as fitness bands, but can also do much more. This added functionality could drive more consumer interest.
Large growth is expected in the “earwear” and smart clothing segments. The new features of hearables as a lower-cost alternative to traditionally expensive hearing aids can help drive the segment to a blistering CAGR of 54%. Smart garments are also predicted to grow rapidly at a 36% CAGR. It is important to note that these segments are starting with very small unit shipments, and so will combine for only about 12% of the total wearable shipments in 2020.