The year 2021 will be good for the global wearables market. Shipments of wearables are projected to increase from 113.2 million in 2017 to 222.3 million in 2021.
Some of the most popular wearables have been basic wristbands such as the Fitbit Charge or the Xiaomi Mi Band, but that may soon change.
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A new report by IDC shows just how much the global wearables industry will grow in less than five years. Wrist-worn wearables dominate the market, which includes basic wristbands, basic watches, and smartwatches. Basic wristbands are the most popular type, holding an almost 40 percent market share. Basic watches are projected to take the top spot by 2021.
Basic watches or hybrid watches are starting to incorporate some of the same features as the basic wristband — connectivity and tracking features — along with better design and fashion appeal, as fashion brands will start to jump into the market, bringing along their established customer base and distribution network. Basic watches will account for almost 40 percent of all wrist-worn wearables shipments.
Smartwatches will rise in market share but only slightly, jumping from almost 28 percent to 32 percent. However, that will be a rise of almost 40 million shipments in four years.
Ear Wearables Will Have The Greatest Growth
Ear wearables will see the largest growth in all of the segments. It is expected to rise from 1.7 million shipments in 2017 to 10.6 million in 2021 — a 524 percent growth.
This surge in popularity can be attributed to the phasing out of audio jack in smartphones, particularly in the iPhone and Pixel. Headphones are being embedded with voice assistants. Google, Amazon, and Samsung are working on their own ear wearables.
Not included in this category are traditional Bluetooth headsets. This category focused on headphones that offer features such as fitness tracking or audio augmentation.
Google Glass showed that people did not want to wear an obtrusive piece of tech on their heads. Head-worn wearables are being lumped into the "Other" category in the shipments figures. It is currently shown to have an 11 percent growth.
Snap's Spectacles, like the Google Glass, showed that people are still trying to get used to the technology. There is a disconnect between the way people associate certain wearables. Snap Spectacle's disastrous launch proved how much the technology is lagging behind others.
Also thrown into the "Other" category are smart wristbands that don't run third-party apps and other less popular types of wearables.