Connected wearables market to double by 2021

According to marketing intelligence firm International Data Corporation (IDC), sales of connected electronic wearables (watches, bracelets, clothes, etc.) are expected to nearly double by 2021, picking up speed sharply after a slow start. In a press release issued on Wednesday, IDC estimated that the market will grow from 113.2 million units to 222.3 million units sold in 2021.

Apple Watch Hermès

Connected bracelets - used for example to monitor the heartbeat or track distance covered - are currently the best-selling type of connected wearable (accounting for nearly 40% of sales in 2017), but this particular market is forecast to settle by 2021, to the benefit of connected watches, for a long time seen as basically useless gadgets but whose sales are expected to grow steadily.

Sales for the smart watch segment, driven by the Apple models, are likely to increase from 31.6 million units this year to 71.5 million in 2021, in part thanks to the mobile cellular connectivity feature offered by certain models, allowing users to make phone calls.

Also, more and more fashion brands are launching smart watches, another factor driving market growth.

However, "the struggle to move beyond health and sporting use is still a reality, and convincing customers to pay a premium for benefits which aren't immediately evident will be a challenge," said Jitesh Ubrani, an analyst at IDC.

IDC is forecasting a marked increase in the sales of multi-functional connected headphones and connected apparel in the near future, though both categories will still account for a modest share of the market (about 5% for either of them).

In comparison, IDC estimated that, in 2017, the number of smartphones sold worldwide is 1.5 billion.

Translated by Nicola Mira

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