Global retail revenue from smart wearable devices will treble by 2016, before reaching $53.2 billion by 2019, according to a new report from Juniper Research.
The market will be driven by an increase in sales of premium smart watches and smart glasses over the next five years.
Benefits Lag Behind Device Growth
The extensive new report – Smart Wearable Devices: Fitness, Glasses, Watches, Multimedia, Clothing, Jewellery, Healthcare & Enterprise 2014-2019 – 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, it argues that vendors still need to get over the ‘technology first’ attitude and think in terms of consumer benefits for an increased product adoption.
Consumers and Manufacturers Unsure on New Technology
The research observed that consumers are still unsure about the use case for many wearable devices, including watches and glasses. In particular, consumers are hesitant to adopt wearable companion devices with functionality that is very similar to that of smartphones.
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’s Android Wear, Samsung’s SAMI data architecture or Intel’s Edison design platform. This enables them to respond easily to new device developments, rather than developing the devices themselves.
Meanwhile, Juniper anticipates that many of the more advanced technologies for wearables will be developed first for the enterprise and healthcare segments, which have clearer use cases. These segments will drive wearable technology forward, before being adapted for the consumer sector.
Other key findings include:
• Smart watches will replace fitness wearables as the most purchased wearables category by 2017.
• With smartphones increasingly becoming commoditised, wearables will remain companion devices, with many tied to specific operating systems to differentiate offerings.
The white paper, ‘Wearables: Smart Chic or Smart Hype?’ is available for download from the Juniper website together with full details of the report and the attendant Interactive Forecast Excel (IFxl).
Juniper Research provides consultancy, analyst reports and industry commentary to the global hi-tech communications sector.