How Apple Watch Is Driving “Smart Wearables”

by CXOtoday News Desk    Jun 22, 2015


Wearables have been around for some time now (including the likes of Jawbone and Fitband products), but Apple Watch released in April is changing much of the wearables landscape in the coming months. A new forecast from research firm IDC estimates that 72.1 million wearable devices will be shipped in 2015, up a strong 173.3% from the 26.4 million units shipped in 2014.

The Apple Watch is expected to grab nearly two-thirds of the smartwatch market this year as IDC had said two weeks ago that Apple will ship to retailers about 21 million Apple Watches in 2015. A GfK report earlier estimated that Apple Watch will sell anywhere between 10 million and 45 million before 2015 end.

Read more: Why 2015 Is A Turning Point For Wearables?

Financial analyst Brian White of Cantor Fitzgerald recently mentioned that the Apple Watch will “prove to be the best selling product in Apple’s history.

In general, shipment volumes are expected to experience a CAGR of 42.6% over the five-year forecast period, reaching 155.7 million units shipped in 2019.

“The demand for basic wearables, those that do not run third party apps, has been absolutely astounding,” said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst, Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers.


“Vendors like Fitbit and Xiaomi have helped propel the market with their sub-$100 bands, and IDC expects this momentum will continue throughout 2015,” he says.

“We expect smart wearables, those capable of running third party apps, to take the lead in 2016,” added Ubrani. “Smart wearables like the Apple Watch and Micosoft’s Hololens are indicative of an upcoming change in computing, and the transition from basic to smart wearables opens up a slew of opportunities for vendors, app developers, and accessory makers.”

“Growth in the smart wearables market points to an emerging battleground among competing platforms,” said Ramon Llamas, research manager, Wearables. “Android Wear, Tizen, and WatchOS are moving ahead with improved user interfaces, user experiences, and applications. These will raise the expectations of what a smart wearable can do, and each platform is vying for best-in-class status. We’re not there yet, but we’re seeing the building blocks of what is to come.

Worldwide Wearable Device Shipments, Year-Over-Year Growth and CAGR by Product Category, 2014, 2015, and 2019 (Units in Millions) 

Product Category

2014 Shipments

2015 Shipments

2019 Shipments

2015 Year-Over-Year Growth

2014 - 2019 CAGR

Basic Wearables






Smart Wearables






All Wearables






 Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, June 18, 2015

While some analysts are still apprehensive about the success of smart watches - given that these are not proven devices yet, others have also questioned its battery life and ‘very small’ form factor. Angela McIntyre from research firm Gartner said in a recent blog, there are 1.2bn traditional watches sold every year and a quarter of those are digital watches or even if only a small proportion of those digital watches become connected, but that’s a lot of smartwatches,” said .

Most agree that starting 2015, in the next five years smartwatches can provide an experience that’s compelling enough to out a smartphone and its uses will be manifold.