While 2013 was a pretty good year for worldwide wearable computing devices, this year will be a boom period with research firm IDC predicting shipments will hit 19.2 million, which is triple the shipments last year.
In just a few years, by 2018, global unit shipments should spike to 111.9 million thanks to an annual growth rate of 78.4 percent.
Samsung, which has already unveiled multiple wearable computing devices, is the most trusted brand for wearables, ahead of Apple, Sony, and Google, states the report.
"Complex accessories have succeeded in drawing much-needed interest and attention to a wearables market that has had some difficulty gaining traction," said Ramon Llamas, IDC research manager, mobile phones. "The increased buzz has prompted more vendors to announce their intentions to enter this market. Most importantly, end-users have warmed to their simplicity in terms of design and functionality, making their value easy to understand and use."
The market research news comes just a day after Google announced it would hold a one-day consumer sale of its Glass, a high-tech wearable eyewear that is now being used in pilots and early deployments in several industries. In March Google announced a new OS for wearables called Android Wear. Also this week Nike announced a new research lab to drive application development for its fitness tracker device. Even low-tier PC maker Acer is getting into the market, as is smartphone maker HTC.
The research firm believes wearables are getting more market traction as it's a technology moving out of the early adopter phase and now producing functional and stylish lifestyle accessories.
"Smart accessories, will gain momentum through the forecast period and surpass complex accessory shipments by 2018. Similar to complex accessories, with their dependence on connecting with IP-capable devices, smart accessories allow users to add third-party applications that boost features and functions for a more robust experience," states the report. "While not quite ready for prime time, the smart accessory market will continue to mature as users better understand and accept the value proposition and vendors refine their offerings."
The study states smart wearables vendors, such as Google and its Glass, must convince users to shift to a new user experience while offering them a robust selection of third-party applications.
"It is not a question of "if," but "when" wearables as a whole will extend into the enterprise," states the report.