Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, September 2020

It’s not hard to find rosy prospect claims for any market, but we pay special attention to the International Data Corporation (IDC) market forecast reports. Along with Gartner, IDC is known for its research, trustworthiness, and, well, the gravitas of its reports. So it’s in that spirit that we report the announcement of the latest IDC Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker. The overall project is bullish for wearables for the next four years.

IDC reports an expected 396 million wearable device shipments worldwide for 2020, a 14.5% increase over 2019. IDC expects shipments to grow at a compound annual rate of 12.4 through 2024, with a total of 637.1 units to ship in the last year of that period.

Hearables were the wearable market leader during 2020’s first half while watches and wristband devices slipped a bit. Those three categories will continue to lead the market, IDC reports. Factors that will drive hearables’ continued market dominance include smartphones dropping headphone jacks for Bluetooth devices, lower prices, and expanded use cases including health and fitness monitoring, smart assistants, and home and work connectivity.

Smartwatch and regular watch shipments will also increase during the next four year, says IDC, driven by new fitness and productivity applications for Apples, iOS, Samsung’s Tizen, and Google’s WearOS. IDC also noted Google acquired FitBitOS to boost the brand’s fitness and health applications.

Wristbands will have the smallest shipment growth of the top three categories. Most wristbands sell for less than $40, which IDC indicates opens space for higher-priced models with advanced features.

IDC’s Wearable Device Tracker further breaks down wearables data and by market size, vendor share, and market forecasts for more than 100 markets worldwide.