Things look rosy for the Apple Watch as wearable sales are predicted to boom

If you can believe two new research reports, things look sunny for the Apple Watch in the months ahead. New data from Parks Associates says that smart watch adoption has nearly doubled — from four percent of U.S. broadband households at the start of 2014 to seven percent now, with 10 percent planning to buy a smart watch by midyear 2016. 

"The wearables market is growing strong, and their unique form factors will help drives sales for the holidays," said Harry Wang, director, Health and Mobile Product Research, Parks Associates. "Smart watches are particularly popular among broadband households with children. Eleven percent of U.S. broadband households with children have a smart watch, and 16 percent plan to buy one by midyear 2016. The smart watch has significant connected health applications, but family-oriented use cases will also help grow and maintain the device's popularity.”

Parks Associates notes that design, fashion, and personalization are also important elements as smart watch vendors push for greater mainstream adoption of smart watches. Meanwhile, a a new report from analyst firm Berg Insight says that shipments of connected wearables reached 72.5 million in 2015, up from 25.3 million devices in the previous year. 

Growing at a compound annual growth rate of 25.8 percent, total shipments of smartwatches, smart glasses, fitness & activity trackers, people monitoring & safety devices and medical devices as well as other wearable devices are forecasted to reach 228.3 million units in 2020. Bluetooth will remain the primary connectivity option in the coming years. A total of 17.8 million of the wearables sold in 2020 are forecasted to incorporate embedded cellular connectivity, mainly in the smartwatch and people monitoring and safety categories.

Apple entered the connected wearables market in the second quarter of the year and has quickly become the leading smartwatch vendor. The competition is responding with new devices from Android Wear vendors including Motorola, LG, Huawei and Asus as well as from vendors betting on other platforms such as Samsung and Pebble. Smartwatch sales have picked up considerably during 2015 and shipments are on the track to reach 19.5 million units by the end of the year, a 353 percent increase year-on-year, according to Berg Insight.

“This market development has not gone unnoticed by the traditional watch industry and several vendors including Fossil and TAG Heuer have presented smartwatches of their own” says Senior Analyst Johan Svanberg. “Improved devices available in different price segments will drive adoption in the next five years and smartwatches is predicted to become the largest device category by the end of the forecast period.”