Global wearable device sales to soar 18.4% in 2016: Gartner

Worldwide wearable devices sales to hit 274.6 million in 2016, up 18.4 percent from 232.0 million units in 2015, according to the latest forecast from Gartner. The market is further expected to grow to 322.69 million wearable electronic devices in 2017 from 232.01 million units in 2015.

The research firm stated that smartwatches will have stronger appeal with consumers as they typically have more multi-functional devices that can track exercise. Sales of smartwatches will reach 50.4 Million units in 2016, according to Gartner. Global wearable electronic devices will generate revenue of $28.7 billion in 2016, of which, $11.5 billion will be from smartwatches. Bluetooth headsets topped the list of wearable electronic devices with 116.32 million units in 2015 and this is predicted to increase to 128.50 million units in 2016 and further to 139.23 million units in 2017.

Angela McIntyre, research director at Gartner said

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. Though the sales of smartwatches are the one of the strongest types of wearables, their adoption will remain much below sales of smartphones. For example, in 2016 more than 374 million smartphones will sell in mature market countries and in large urban areas of emerging market countries, for example, in Hong Kong and Singapore.”

Gartner Worldwide Wearable Devices

Gartner said that a new category of Head-mounted displays (HMDs) is emerging in the market with an advent of new virtual reality headsets and in 2016 the HMD market will progress toward mainstream adoption for consumers and enterprise use. Enterprise use of HMDs will also grow in the coming years with 26 percent of HMDs designed for business use in 2018.

Brian Blau, research director, Gartner said

New virtual reality HMDs for consumers, such as the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Sony PlayStation VR, and Microsoft HoloLens are expected to be available along with video games and entertainment content as well as business applications critical for their success,” “Film producers and sports leagues will augment their traditional content through HMDs to enhance their customer experiences by creating interactive attractions, movies, and sporting events that make the content more personal and meaningful.”

Gartner forecasts that  fitness wearables like sports watches will maintain its average retail price over the next several years. Athletes like race runners, cyclists and divers will choose sports watches over smartwatches because the user interface, capabilities and durability are tailored to the needs of an athlete in their sport.

Author: Sneha Bokil

Sneha Bokil is a tech enthusiast and is currently using OnePlus 3T but she still treasures her Nokia N70 (M). You can follow her on Twitter @snehabokil and on Google+