Wearables Set For Unstoppable Growth
There’s no stopping wearables from growing, as several reports this week reveals that wearables, as a segment is growing leaps and bounds and it has the potential to change how we live and work.
“We expect strong growth in wearables in 2015 with smartwatches and fitness bands and other trackers to reach nearly 70 million units, up 38 percent from 2014,” says Annette Zimmermann, research director at Gartner. However, she adds that “we don’t see these devices replacing the smartphone in the next five years, rather they are a complementary device to the existing portfolio of devices.”
Gartner believes this year should be an interesting one for wearables. While the wearables market is currently a relatively low penetrated market, it has the opportunity to grow in double-digits in the long term. Gartner forecasts sales of wearables to reach 514 million units in 2020.
According to a new Tractica report, smartwatches and fitness trackers will be at the forefront as the global wearable device market grows from 17 million shipments in 2013 to 187.2 million by 2020, representing a 34 percent market growth.
“Wearable computing is moving past the early adopter stage and the industry is beginning to see the first glimpses of how it will have a profound influence on the future of human interaction with technology,” says the report.
Follow the leader
From a vendor’s perspective, researchers believe the Apple Watch is bound to trigger more awareness for wearables, and Samsung, Sony, Lenovo and others will have to come up with more attractive products to compete.
Tractica Research Director Aditya Kaul believes a big factor is the Apple Watch, debuting in April, which will provide the momentum and scale to drive significant awareness and growth in the sector – something the report describes as one of the first mass-market wearables.
Likewise, it sees Apple Watch will share the global wearable stage with a increasing variety of emerging competitive devices, built on the Android platform, that will range from wearable cameras, body sensors to smartglasses and clothing.
A boost to healthcare
One area that will particularly be most influenced by wearables is healthcare. Gartner believes that Samsung, Google, Apple and Microsoft are ready to build out entire health platforms that are intended to attract partners in the healthcare and fitness industry.
“This initiative will trigger new business models, but will also stir up the discussion on how best to protect the sensitive data that is being collected from wearables. In addition, there is still room for improvement for most vendors to create more sophisticated apps and ecosystems around wearables,” states Zimmermann.
Despite several challenges, it can be a game changer for the industry. A study by the McKinsey Global Research Institute suggests that a wearable approach to preventive care may be more cost-effective than existing solutions. Through continuous monitoring rather than periodic testing, physicians could reduce treatment costs by as much as 10% to 20%, saving billions of dollars in the care of congestive heart failure alone, the study said.
A new Canalys report says more than 720,000 Android Wear devices shipped in 2014, of the 4.6 million smart wearable bands in total. Fitbit rules as the global leader in the basic wearable band market, it s, but is said but has a lot of competition. Samsung launched six wearables in 14 months, but whether it continues to hold its position remains a big question mark now. Others like Motorola and its Moto 360, and LG and its round G Watch R too cannot be ignored.
Primed for big growth
While some believe wearables will take a lot more years for adoption, a Forrester survey found that of 3,000 global technology decision-makers, 68 percent of executives called wearables a “priority” for their companies. Factors like converging and driving an urgency to invest more time, resources, and money into wearable devices are driving this trend.
The reports suggest that wearable computing presents a huge opportunity for organizations looking to boost productivity and drive efficiency while connecting with customers, partners, and employees in new and meaningful ways.
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