Wearable sales are up 40 percent in the third quarter of 2014—with global shipments totaling 12.7 million units—over the same quarter in 2013, according to new research from FutureSource Consulting.
“The wearables market is definitely one to watch, with our forecasts predicting sales of 52 million units across all wearable categories this year, up 32 percent from 2013," Oliver Rowntree, market analyst at FutureSource, said in a news release statement.
In 2015, the research predicts the market for wearables will grow another 44 percent, with 74 million wearable units shipped. FutureSource expects wearables to continue to be integrated into consumer technology, with 83 million units shipped annually by 2018.
The wearables category incorporates a number of product areas with varying degrees of maturity, which have very different market forces acting on them. While FutureSource anticipates significant growth in the category overall, this is not the case for every wearable product. They expect the growth outlook for traditional fitness to be considerably less aggressive than for emerging categories such as activity trackers and smartwatches, with pedometers in particular seeing rapid decline.
FutureSource expects Apple to have a significant impact upon the connected watch market with its entry in 2015. The Apple Watch is well-positioned to capitalize on Apple's premium brand positioning, and its aesthetic is in line with the level that might be expected for wearable technology to be worn as jewelry as well as technology, according to the consulting firm.
"Longer-term growth is dependent upon how compelling a use case emerges for existing wearable products. While we have an optimistic view of the wearable market, there remain some uncertainties around the usage models for wearables, and whether a compelling raison d'étre for the category will develop," said Rowntree.