Wearable devices, that are interconnected via the Internet, have hit the mass market in a variety of form factors, ranging from glasses to jewelry. That rise in popularity is dependent upon the availability of enabling technologies, including low cost sensors and increasing wireless connectivity.
All that opportunity and demand has led the smart home, retail, healthcare and fitness industries, to name only a few, to introduce products and technology to meet the need. Companies as varied as smartphone OEMs, wireless carriers, health insurers and retailers are potential participants within the ecosystem alongside fledgling startups, each competing for a place.
In a report released this week, SNS Research estimates that by 2016, wearable device shipments will surpass 140 million and will comprise nearly $30 billion in revenue. The market is further expected to grow at a CAGR of 30% during the next five years.
The SNS numbers are a huge jump from those only released in June by IDG:
The wearables market maintained its upward trajectory in the first quarter of 2015 as new vendors, including Apple, prepared to enter the market. A new forecast from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker estimates that 72.1 million wearable devices will be shipped in 2015, up a strong 173.3% from the 26.4 million units shipped in 2014.
There’s no doubt the market is growing rapidly. What remains to be seen is how companies will make the devices relatable to consumers. Currently, many wearables are designed for industrial and safety applications. While FitBits are seeing excellent growth among the general population — the company had sales of $14.5 million in 2011 and $754 million in 2014 — the real potential for growth lies in adoption by the industrial, retail, healthcare and business markets. When big data is transformed into super data that interprets information to deliver targeted insights, the popularity of wearable technology will skyrocket.