The worldwide market for wearable devices, now inclusive of wireless headphones with smart assistants, is forecast to grow 15.3% over the previous year to 198.5 million units by the end of 2019, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker.
Watches accounted for 44.2% of the entire wearables market in 2018 and its share is anticipated to grow throughout the forecast, reaching 47.1% in 2023. IDC says the Apple Watch “will undoubtedly lead the way and despite increasing competition from watches running forked versions of Android as well as Wear OS, watchOS will account for 27.5% of all watches in 2023.” Other than smartwatches, hybrid watches and simpler kids' watches will also continue to grow albeit at a much slower pace.
Driving the wearables’ growth will be the continued proliferation of watches, ear-worn devices, and wrist bands as well as further adoption in the healthcare segment, according to IDC. Looking ahead, the research group says the market is expected to reach 279 million units by the end of 2023 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.9%.
Earwear, also referred to as hearables and ear-worn devices, will be the second largest category of wearables in 2023 with 31% share, says IDC. The inclusion of biometric sensors and the adoption of smart assistants will help drive this category forward throughout the forecast.
Wristbands, once the most popular form factor, will experience flat growth with a CAGR of 0.7%. Meanwhile, growth in terms of dollar value is expected to decline with a -4.1% CAGR during the same period as average selling prices drop from $51 in 2019 to $42 in 2023. The market is already dominated by Chinese brands such as Huawei and Xiaomi, and IDC expects this to continue.
Connected clothing will be largely comprised of step-counting shoes and similar devices. To date these types of products have mainly been popular in China but that is slowly changing as brands such as Nike and Under Armour make headway in other markets. In the later years of the forecast, IDC expects to see more enterprise applications introduced as companies aim to monitor employees in hazardous situations.