Worldwide wearable sales to grow 18.4 percent in 2016

Apple WatchIf Gartner’s latest worldwide wearable sales numbers are to be believed, 2015 may have been a bigger year for smartwatches than initially believed. Juniper Research pegged 2015 smartwatch sales at 17.1 million units. Gartner estimates that 274.6 million wearable electronic devices were sold in 2015 with 30.32 million of those being smartwatches. It also expects that smartwatch sales alone will hit 66.71 million units in 2017 thanks in large part to the Apple Watch.

“From 2015 through 2017, smartwatch adoption will have 48 percent growth largely due to Apple popularizing wearables as a lifestyle trend. Smartwatches have the greatest revenue potential among all wearables through 2019, reaching $17.5 billion,” said Angela McIntyre, research director at Gartner.

Sales of sports watches, which offer greater durability and more customization towards specific sports and activities, will also continue to grow but not at the same pace. On the other hand, they may be able to better maintain their average retail price thanks to advances in sensors and analytics.

Perhaps more interesting is that the report adds that smartwatch sales topped those of wristbands, activity and fitness trackers and similar devices, by a very narrow margin. Jump ahead to 2017 and smartwatches are expected to outsell wristbands by more than 20 million units. Gartner attributes this to smartwatches having “stronger appeal with consumers” as they offer not only features found on wristbands but additional ones as well.

HTC Vive headset

Gartner also calls attention to head-mounted displays. The consumer space will benefit from devices such as the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Sony PlayStation VR and Microsoft HoloLens while the enterprise space will adopt similar devices for a range of activities including  equipment repair, inspections and maintenance.

It’s likely that the differences in numbers between worldwide wearable sales reports can be attributed at least in part to different definitions for different product categories.

Source : Gartner