Why you can’t ignore the rise of the wearables market

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Wearables are primed to become the “in” tech in 2015, according to a new study by International Data Corporation.

From finger rings that show a call is coming through to the phone, to watches that are fully digital and computerized, to armband fitness trackers, to augmented reality glasses, and of course the Apple Watch, the wearables market is heating up. The study says this year wearable sales will more than double over last year: nearly 20 million units versus more than 45 million.

Thus far, one in five Americans have adopted a wearable, according to PriceWaterhouseCooper. That includes wristwear (bands, bracelets, and watches), eyewear, and earwear, with nine tenths of that wristwear.

Fitness bands led the growth of wearables, according to IDC, and as the cost came down, its usage went up. Also, Apple’s upcoming smartwatch will likely encourage wearable market growth. Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC’s wearables team, said in a statement. “The Apple Watch raises the profile of wearables in general and there are many vendors and devices that are eager to share the spotlight. Basic wearables, meanwhile, will not disappear. In fact, we anticipate continued growth here as many segments of the market seek out simple, single-use wearable devices.”

In a previous B2BNN report, we learned wireless wearable devices will be responsible for increasing the total amount of global wireless data traffic by 10 times by 2019.

Mike Pegler, Principal, PwC US technology practice said at the time, “Enterprises must forge partnerships and develop IT and platform alliances to deliver seamless experiences on both the front end and back end of wearable implementations.”

Back in early December, 2014, Forrester Research reported that 2015 was “poised to be a breakout” for wearables, predicting a tripling in sales over the course of the year.

“A bigger driver of demand is coming from businesses looking to supply employees with all types of new body gadgetry,” they maintained. More than two-thirds of the business executives surveyed wanted to develop a “wearables strategy” for their employees.

That could take the form of a worn device that monitors safety of field workers, to a video monitor that complements technical inspectors. Other discussions taking place include intuitive devices that become acquainted with a user’s lifestyle wherein corporations can use that data for targeted advertising.


“The wearable market will take off as brands, retailers, sports stadiums, healthcare companies, and others develop new business models to take advantage of wearables,” J.P. Gownder, the author of the report, wrote.

In October 2014, PriceWaterhouseCooper came out with its own data, and video, describing the burgeoning industry, and Deloitte at that time had their own modest predictions.

In the past fourteen months, since Endeavor Partners issued its first paper in Jan. 2014 on wearable technology. But their prediction was less optimistic than current forecasts.

Endeavor Partners wrote, at that time, that about a third of consumers with wearables have abandoned them, and more than a third of people received wearable activity trackers as gifts (e.g. did not buy it themselves).

Ryan Reith, program director with IDC’s worldwide quarterly device trackers, acknowledges that consumers in the foreseeable future may still need convincing to purchase a wearable.

“Many users will need a good reason to replace a traditional watch or accessory with a wrist-worn device or some other form of wearable that will likely require daily charging and occasional software upgrades.”

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