IDC: Smart eyewear and clothing to account for 15% of wearables shipments by 2020

Graph - Going upIDC‘s latest Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker reconfirms the market research firm’s prediction that global wearables shipments will continue to grow at a strong clip over the next few years. It predicts that they will hit 213.6 million units in 2020. Smartwatches and smarter watches (traditional watches offering some connected capabilities) will dominate the market but smart eyewear and clothing are expected to grow substantially over the next few years and account for more than 15% of shipments by then.

“Unlike the smartphone, which consolidated multiple technologies into one device, the wearables market is a collection of disparate devices,” said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers. “Watches and bands are and always will be popular, but the market will clearly benefit from the emergence of additional form factors, like clothing and eyewear, that will deliver new capabilities and experiences. Eyewear has a clear focus on the enterprise as it stands to complement or replace existing computing devices, particularly for workers in the field or on the factory floor. Meanwhile, clothing will take aim at the consumer, offering the ability to capture new forms of descriptive and prescriptive data.”

Smart eyewear is expected to show strong growth in the enterprise space. While accounting for only about 8% of shipments, the segment could account for 40% of total revenues for the wearables market due to the high prices commanded by specialized commercial devices.

Smart clothing will also begin to make inroads thanks to a growing number of partnerships between traditional brands and technology companies. Athletes could benefit from more advanced fitness tracking woven and built into specialized clothing and accessories. On the consumer side, smart belts (like the Samsung Welt prototype) and shoes could also become more ubiquitous over the next few years.

Two factors are expected to drive wearables adoption over the next few years. Cellular connectivity is expected to make wearables more autonomous. A broader and more compelling app catalog will also help. Leveraging cellular connectivity, new apps will bring more information right to our wrists. This will in turn reduce our dependency on smartphones and make wearables more compelling.

IDC’s latest report suggests that wearables shipments are not expected to grow as fast as expected earlier. Last December’s version of the report called for volumes hitting 214.6 million units by 2019. This latest report now predicts that shipments will hit a target lower by 1 million units a year later.

Source : IDC