Booming wearables market could be on track for a record year of shipments

apple watch wearables
Fitness trackers, smartwatches, and kid-tracking wearables are hot trends. That’s according to a new study by International Data Corporation (IDC), which predicts manufacturers like Apple and Fitbit will ship a total of 125.5 million wearable devices this year — up 20.4 percent from the 104.3 million sold in 2016.

“The wearables market is entering a new phase,” Ramon T. Llamas, research manager for IDC’s wearables team, said in a statement. “Since the market’s inception, it’s been a matter of getting product out there to generate awareness and interest.”

Thanks to the industry’s efforts thus far, IDC expects shipments to double before surging to 240.1 million in 2021. But it says the success of nex-gen wearables is at least in part predicated on artificial intelligence, always-on connectivity, real-time audio filtering, language translation, and other marketable innovations.

“Now it’s about getting the experience right – from the way the hardware looks and feels to how software collects, analyzes, and presents insightful data,” Llamas said. “Expect digital assistants, cellular connectivity, and connections to larger systems, both at home and at work. At the same time, expect to see a proliferation in the diversity of devices brought to market, and a decline in prices that will make these more affordable to a larger crowd.”

In the short term, IDC predicts that basic watches — i.e., devices that don’t run third-party applications — will continue to out-ship smartwatches as watch makers shift resources to building hybrid watches. But it says that will change as LTE-enabled watches like Verizon’s Wear24 become more prevalent.

In addition, it projects that specific categories of wearables will perform more strongly than others. Wristbands could see slowing growth as a result of “softness” that began in 2016, IDC says, but might be propped up by low-cost devices with “good enough” features for the mass market. It predicts that the earwear, which includes wireless earbuds like Bragi’s Dash and Samsung’s Gear Icon X, will grow, as will smart clothing products like Google and Levi’s touch-enabled Project Jacquared jacket.

“It’s not just the end users who will benefit from these advanced devices,” Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers, said in a statement. “Opportunities also exist for developers and channel partners to provide the apps, services, and distribution that will support the growing abundance of wearables. From a deployment perspective, the commercial segment also stands to benefit as wearables enable productivity, lower costs, and increase return on investment in the long term.

Deals

Make some time for the best smartwatch deals for April 2019

Smartwatches make your life easier by sending alerts right on your wrist. Many also provide fitness-tracking features. So if you're ready to take the plunge into wearables and want to save money, read on for the best smartwatch deals.
Deals

Stay fit and save cash with our top 10 affordable Fitbit alternatives

As much as we love Fitbits, they're rather expensive. If all you want is a simple activity tracker, however, then check out these great cheap Fitbit alternatives. With offerings from brands like Garmin, you don't need to pay full price.
Trash

Looking to get into shape? Snag one of these fitness trackers

Looking for your first fitness tracker, or an upgrade to the one you're already wearing? There are plenty of the wrist-worn gadgets available. Here are our picks for the best fitness trackers available right now.
Deals

It’s time to check out the best Apple Watch deals for April 2019

The Apple Watch has surged to prominence in recent years. If you're in the market for an iOS wearable, we've sniffed out the best Apple Watch deals available right now for all three models of this great smartwatch.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Samsung Galaxy Fold woes, zombie pigs, and more

Today's topics: Samsung Galaxy Fold, Facebook A.I. voice assistants, YouTube comes to Fire TV, facial recognition on airline flights, the SpaceX DART program, Yale's zombie pigs, and much more!
Mobile

Samsung Galaxy S10 update gives manual control of Bright Night mode

Samsung 2019 flagship smartphone lineup is here, and there aren't just two phones as usual — there are four. There's the Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, as well as a new entry called the S10e, as well as the Galaxy S10 5G.
Deals

Apple iPads and iPad Pros get price cuts up to $150 on Amazon

In the market for a new iPad? Now might be the time to buy -- Amazon has discounted a range of iPad models, including the 10.5-inch, 11-inch, and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, plus the standard iPad.
Deals

The excellent Moto G6 is just $99 from Google Fi for a limited time

Getting a cheap smartphone can be a great way to squeeze value out of your dollars. Motorola's Moto G-range has always been good value, but never better than this: Get the Moto G6 for just $99 from Google Fi.
Mobile

Keep your huge phone beautiful with the best iPhone XS Max cases

Apple's iPhone XS Max might be the best large phone the company has ever released. But a bigger OLED display and body means there's more glass to crack. Keep your massive phone safe with the best iPhone XS Max cases.
Deals

Ultra Wideband is here, and you can use it with the 5G Moto Mod (and save $150)

5G is rolling out in the U.S., and Motorola’s Moto Z3 is one of the few phones that can use it. Select people can take advantage of Verizon’s 5G service and enjoy a $150 discount with the purchase of a Moto Z3 and 5G Moto Mod bundle.
Deals

The best Amazon Prime Day 2019 deals: Everything you need to know

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is still a few months off, but it's never too early to start preparing. We've been taking a look at the best discounts from previous Prime Days to give you our predictions of what to expect this year.
Mobile

The 15 most stylish iPhone docks and charging stands for your device

The right iPhone dock does more than just hold your phone. If you’re looking for the perfect dock for your bedroom, or one to sit discretely on your office desk, there’s a good chance you’ll find it here.
Product Review

The Xperia 10 Plus feels great in your hand, but you'll still want to put it down

There has never been a better time to buy a smartphone with an unusual design, and one of the cheaper models out there vying for your attention is the Sony Xperia 10 Plus, with its 21:9 aspect ratio screen.
Trash

How to save yourself money by buying a refurbished iPhone

There’s a lot to consider when you’re looking for a new iPhone, and it can be very expensive. Save yourself some heartache and some money with our guide on how to buy a refurbished iPhone.