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.

Mobile

Smartwatch sales soared in 2018, with Apple leading the charge

The NPD Group, a market research organization, has reported smartwatch sales soared in 2018. Apple is leading the charge, but it's clear there's still room in the market for competitors, as Samsung and Fitbit also did well.
Deals

Make some time for the best smartwatch deals for February 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.
Wearables

The Google Pixel Watch could finally launch sometime this year

From its Pixel smartphones to Google Home, the Google brand is quickly becoming synonymous with high-quality consumer hardware. Eventually, according to rumors, Google may branch out a little further by creating its first smartwatch.
Deals

Amazon drops prices on the Apple Watch Series 3 for Valentine’s Day

If you happen to be an iPhone owner, the Apple Series 3 smartwatch is the most compatible smartwatch for you. And now for a limited time the Apple Watch Series 3 is being offered to the public at a discounted price from Amazon.
Mobile

Xiaomi Mi 9 will be one of the first phones with monster Snapdragon 855 chip

Xiaomi's next major smartphone release will be the Mi 9, and the company hasn't held back in giving us a good look at the phone, revealing the design, the camera, and a stunning color.
Wearables

Galaxy Watch Active isn't official yet, but you can see it in Samsung's own app

Samsung may be about to resurrect its Sport line of smartwatches under a new name: The Galaxy Watch Sport Active. Leaks and rumors are building our picture of the device at the moment.
Wearables

Focals succeed where Google Glass fumbled (but do we really need smartglasses?)

It’s been seven years since Google took the wraps off Google Glass. Now, we’re finally getting a modern-day equivalent we want to wear. North’s Focals combine subtle style with an intuitive interface to craft smartglasses you’ll…
Mobile

Stop buying old tablets, says Samsung, buy the new Galaxy Tab S5e instead

Samsung has launched the Galaxy Tab S5e -- the E is for Essential -- a reasonably priced tablet that includes many of the features we like from the Tab A 10.5, and the Tab S4. Here's what you need to know.
Mobile

Bag yourself a bargain with the best budget tablets under $200

The battle for your budget tablet affections is really ramping up. Which tablet, costing less than $200, should be commanding your attention? We take a look at some different options for the budget-conscious.
Computing

What is Wi-Fi 6? Here's a look at the next evolution of the wireless standard

We're exploring the new naming convention for wireless standards, how it affects the devices you buy, and what the upcoming Wi-Fi generation is changing for the better.
Home Theater

Samsung accidentally leaks its new Galaxy Buds ahead of launch

It's been all but certain that Samsung would launch a successor to its Gear IconX wireless earbuds soon, but a newly leaked photo and recent FCC certification document seems to indicate that the debut is very close.
Home Theater

Hi-res streaming audio service Qobuz arrives in U.S., threatens Tidal’s monopoly

For several years, Tidal enjoyed a monopoly on hi-res music streaming in the U.S. Now, French company Qobuz is here to offer some competition with a variety of monthly plans starting at $10 a month.
Mobile

These 13 gadgets walk a fine line between ingenious and insane

The annual avalanche of devices and gadgets is astounding, but how many will succeed? A few are destined to spark new trends, while the majority fade deservedly into obscurity. We look at some gadgets on the border of brilliant and bonkers.
Mobile

OnePlus 6T vs. Honor View 20: We compare the cameras in these ‘flagship killers’

For less than $600, you can buy either the OnePlus 6T or the Honor View 20, two extremely capable smartphones with plenty of exciting features. But which one has the best camera? We found out on a recent trip to France.