Consumer demand for wearable technology is on the rise, with Q3 global shipments totaling 12.7 million units, up 40 percent from the same period last year, according to the latest quarterly research from Futuresource Consulting. The company also predicts sales of 52 million units across all wearables categories by year’s end, a jump of 32 percent from 2013.
To collect its Q3 data, the company tracked seven wearable product categories between August and October of this year: activity trackers, wearable GPS trackers, dedicated heart rate monitors, smartwatches, wireless watches, head-mounted displays, and other fitness devices (including pedometers and footpods).
“Q4 is where we’re going to see all the action, with annual sales heavily weighted toward the pre-Christmas period. We’re expecting 39 percent of this year’s activity to drop into Q4, as wearable tech provides an appealing gifting option for consumers,” says Oliver Rowntree, market analyst at Futuresource Consulting.
“Looking out even further, we’re anticipating further acceleration in the pace of growth in 2015 as smartwatches become more widely adopted, with a 44 percent growth rate driving the market to 74 million units shipped next year.”
Although the report forecasts overall growth in the wearables market, some product categories will see much more development than others.
At the moment, sports and fitness applications are the primary drivers in the wearables market. And in the U.S. market specifically, two emerging wearable categories – activity trackers and smartwatches – lead the way, Rowntree tells ClickZ.
“The U.S. is typically an early adopter market, and it is also a very Apple-centric market, as well as being the biggest per capita spender on health and fitness,” he explains. “We therefore expect it to see big growth with the release of the Apple Watch next year.”
As many new brands enter into the smartwatch category, Rowntree predicts that smartwatches will grow 331 percent in the U.S. this year, compared to last year.
“We expect smartwatches to be the major driver of growth in the wearables market in the next few years,” he says.
Image via Shutterstock.
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