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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Smart Wearables Market will Reach $53.2 Billion in 2019

The idea of wearable technology as a mass market category is relatively new and still quite volatile -- where the expectations of change are very high. Moreover, some analysts say that user demand in the wearables market has already arrived, despite the relatively low adoption rates.

Research has also shown that retention rates for certain wearable devices are much lower than originally anticipated. However, this has not dampened the consumer electronics industry enthusiasm for wearable devices -- a case in point being the introduction of the Apple Watch this week.

The latest market study findings from Juniper Research has revealed that the global retail revenue from smart wearable devices are now forecast to treble by 2016, before reaching $53.2 billion in 2019.

The smart wearables market will be driven by an increase in sales of premium (very expensive) smart watches and smart glasses over the next five years.

This new market study assessment asserts that the recent entry of key industry players within the wearables sector has helped fuel an explosion of new devices in this increasingly crowded market.

However, Juniper argues that vendors still need to get over the "technology first" attitude and think in terms of consumer benefits for an increased product adoption. Besides, all these devices will need practical software apps to make them useful to their owners.


Wearable Technology also Needs Better Marketing

The market research observed that the majority of consumers are still unsure about the use-case for many wearable device types -- including smart watches and smart glasses.

In particular, potential users of these devices are hesitant to adopt wearable companion products with functionality that is very similar to that of their current smartphone.

Many of the recent developments, and much of the hardware, in the sector have come from start-ups and smaller companies. Key players have begun focusing on platform promotions -- such as Google Android Wear, Samsung SAMI data architecture or Intel Edison design platform.

This platform-centric market development approach enables them to respond easily to new device developments, rather than developing the actual devices themselves.

Meanwhile, Juniper anticipates that many of the more advanced technologies for wearables will be developed first for the enterprise and healthcare market segments, which have clearer use-cases. These segments will drive wearable technology forward, before being adapted for the mainstream consumer sector.

Other key findings from the market study include:
  • Smart watches will replace fitness wearables -- such as smart bands -- as the most purchased wearables category by 2017.
  • With smartphones increasingly becoming commoditized, wearables will remain companion devices, with many tied to specific mobile device operating systems to differentiate offerings.