Wearables Hype Fading, Future Devices to Take New Forms: Report
Today's wearables could look quite different by 2020 as some devices, such as smartwatches and fitness trackers, morph into new devices.Wearables, such as smartwatches and fitness trackers, have been very popular in the last two years with consumers, but the hype about the devices is waning and the technologies behind them are becoming more commoditized, which will likely inspire changes and evolution in the devices themselves. One big coming change is the expected development of stand-alone personal wearable communication devices that will likely incorporate many devices into one starting in 2020. Those are some key conclusions in a new report, "Wearable Technology 2016-2026–Markets, Players and 10-Year Forecasts," from research firm IDTechEx. In 2016, the global market for wearables is worth more than $30 billion, with more than $11 billion of that coming from smartwatches, fitness trackers and similar devices, according to the report. Through 2018, IDTechEx expects the global market to grow 10 percent annually to more than $40 billion, followed by a rise of 23 percent to more than $100 billion by 2023. By 2026, the growth rate in wearables will slow to 11 percent, reaching a total of more than $150 billion a year, the report states. The study includes some 39 types of wearable product lines, including smartwatches, fitness trackers, smart eyewear, smart clothing, medical devices, headphones, hearing aids, basic electronic watches and more. A big factor in the expected change and growth will be the increasing commoditization of wearables as devices become more commonplace and prices drop due to additional vendors entering the market and retail pressures, James Hayward, a co-author of the study, told eWEEK.
The wearables marketplace has roots in the first appearance of Google Glass in 2012, with the hype of wearables starting in 2013 and peaking in 2014 and 2015, the report states. "Now the hype has shifted, with more specific focus on sub-sectors, including virtual reality (VR), mixed reality and more," according to the report. "As such, while we view the generalized hype around 'wearables' as over, the hype around wearable technology products will sustain as the fashion and trends in language evolves."