Get Ready For The Smartwatch Explosion

Sales of smartwatches such as the Apple Watch are set to push wearable device shipments to unprecedented highs within the next five years, according to new figures.

Analsyst firm IDC estimates that 111.1 million units will be shipped in 2016, a 44.4 percent increase from the 80 million units expected to ship in 2015, with smartwatches making up most of the sales.

By 2019, over 214 million wearable devices will be shipped annually, IDC estimates, with this growth mostly spurred on by companies developing the second and third generation iterations of their wearable devices, giving consumers more choice than ever before.


Smartwatches will make up nearly a third (34.3 million) of the wearables shipped in 2016, up from the 21.3 million units expected to ship in 2015. However, by 2019, the final year of the forecast, total shipments will reach 88.3 million units.

IDC believes that Apple’s device will prove to be the biggest sellers, as a loyal fanbase eager to keep up with the latest products helps boost sales. The opportunities offered by the company’s watchOS development platform will also make it an attractive proposition for developers creating new and engaging apps.

Overall, the firm predicts that watchOS devices, which currently own 61.3 percent of the wearables market thanks to shipments of 13.0m this year, will still be in top spot by 2019 as shipments increase to 45.2m.

However, Apple’s market share will have declined to 51.1 percent by this time, as devices powered by Google’s Android Wear software see a huge surge in shipments to take 38.8 percent of market share by 2019 thanks to shipments of 34.3m units.

Pebble and Tizen OS will also remain major players, boosting their market share to 2.6 percent and 2.8 percent respectively by 2019 as both maintain their appeal to many customers.

“In a short amount of time, smartwatches have evolved from being extensions of the smartphone to wearable computers capable of communications, notifications, applications, and numerous other functionalities,” noted Ramon Llamas, research manager for IDC’s wearables team.

“The smartwatch we have today will look nothing like the smartwatch we will see in the future. Cellular connectivity, health sensors, not to mention the explosive third-party application market all stand to change the game and will raise both the appeal and value of the market going forward.”

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Mike Moore

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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