SensFusion has launched 1Coach, a wearable running sensor that not only tracks but also offers training advice for improving runs.
Worldwide shipment of wearable devices are expected to reach 101.9 million units by the end of 2016, representing 29.0 percent growth over 2015, according to IDC.
The market for wearable devices will experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.3 percent, culminating in 213.6 million units shipped in 2020.
“Unlike the smartphone, which consolidated multiple technologies into one device, the wearables market is a collection of disparate devices,” said Jitesh Ubrani, Senior Research Analyst of IDC Mobile Device Trackers.
Wearable devices are all the rage. Fueled by the growing popularity of fitness trackers and the Apple Watch, the global wearable device market grew 126.9 percent in Q4, bringing total annual shipment to 78.1 million units, a rise of 171.6 percent, according to IDC.
“Triple-digit growth highlights growing interest in the wearables market from both end-users and vendors. “It shows that wearables are not just for the technophiles and early adopters; wearables can exist and are welcome in the mass market. And since wearables have yet to fully penetrate the mass market, there is still plenty of room for growth in multiple vectors: new vendors, form factors, applications, and use cases. This will help propel the market further,” said Ramon Llamas, Research Manager of IDC’s wearables team.
“What is warranted is continued innovation and development. The market can only get so far with ‘me too’ and ‘copycat’ wearable devices. End-users expect improvement from what they have now, and new applications to spur replacement and increased adoption. Historical data, like steps taken and calories burned, has been a very good start. Prescriptive data, like what else a user can do to live a healthier life, coupled with popular applications like social media, news, and navigation, will push wearables further, and attract more users,” he added.
It’s confirmed. Price does not matter when it comes to Apple products, or at least to Apple fans.
In its launch quarter, Apple Watch took the lion’s share of the wearable market with 4.2 million units shipped, according to Canalys. It breezed past Fitbit, Xiaomi and all the smart watch vendors, despite its significantly higher pricing.
However, early sales were hindered by two factors — Apple missing the end of year holiday season and supply constraints.
Smartwatches are attracting lots of attention but the prices are keeping many at bay, at least for now. Come next year, the prices are expected to average US$30, as smartphone vendors and component suppliers look to tap this market. In fact, Xiaomi has already introduced the Mi Band at just US$13.
Gartner predicts that by 2016, smartwatches will comprise about 40 percent of consumer wristworn devices. Nine out of the top 10 smartphone vendors have entered the wearables market to date or are about to ship a first product, while a year ago only two vendors were in that space.
“Apple has finally unveiled its Apple Watch, which we expect to trigger more consumer interest once it starts shipping in 2015,” said Angela McIntyre, Research Director of Gartner.
Activity tracker: technology before sports brands
At IFA Berlin last week, vendors introduced a number of wearable devices. Of course, most are not available immediately but it’s a signal of things to come when wearables start getting nearly as much attention as smartphones. In fact, wearables are riding on the success and pervasiveness of smartphones.
According to a recent GfK survey in China, South Korea, Germany, the UK and the US, wearable devices are creating an even closer relationship between humans and technology, with innovations such computer-supported watches, fitness armbands and data glasses, which are generally used in conjunction with a smartphone.
Fitness monitoring is the most important area of application for consumers in Germany, the UK and the US, whereas recording health data is regarded as a priority in China. A detailed breakdown of personal statistics on fitness, health and sleep is ranked as the priority by South Korean consumers.
Opinions in the surveyed countries also differed with regard to the most important criteria behind making a purchase. In China, compatibility is the most commonly named factor (19 percent), followed by accuracy (17 percent). However, brand is also seen as the decisive factor in the purchase decision for 16 percent of Chinese consumers. In South Korea, compatibility is viewed as the most important factor (19 percent), while there is a tie for second place between price and user-friendliness (both 17 percent).
Activity trackers are manufactured by companies operating in a range of sectors and the study found that well-known technology companies have the greatest sales potential in all countries surveyed. In South Korea, 69 percent of consumers say that such companies would be their first choice for any potential purchase, as do 54 percent in China.
However, the popularity of sports brands is particularly widespread among younger target groups. According to the study, the sales potential of activity trackers from specialised technology brands, fashion companies and luxury brands is only very limited.
In comparison to activity trackers, smartwatches offer a wider range of applications. Depending on the model, it may be possible to use these watches for telephone calls and navigation services, while some also enable users to search the internet and record data on sporting activity and health. According to the GfK study, this is considered the main area of application for smartwatches by consumers in all surveyed countries, which makes smartwatches a genuine competitor for pure activity trackers.
For Chinese consumers, the ability to monitor activity is a certain winner in this category, at 35 percent, followed by the telephone function (16 percent) and the GPS in third place (11 percent). Respondents in South Korea are also primarily motivated by the ability to monitor activity (27 percent), with the telephone function second (21 percent) and the use of apps coming third (11 percent) in the ranking.
Well-known technology companies are named as the preferred supplier of smartwatches by respondents in all countries. They are considerably ahead of sports brands in second place. The Chinese market, above all, holds potential for luxury brands from the fashion and watch industries.