CCS Insight are forecasting that shipments of smart wearables will grow to 9.7 million in 2013 to 135 million in 2018, according to its new global forecast.
The analyst firm predicts that wrist-worn devices will account for 87% of wearables shipped in 2018, which is made up of 68 million smartwatches and 50 million smart bands with no screen or with a minimal, one-line display.
Speaking about the forecast, Marina Koytcheva, CCS Insight's director of forecasting, was also keen to emphasise that the market still needed to develop: ‘The wearables market is in its Stone Age right now. There needs to be huge improvements to broaden their appeal. This is particularly acute when it comes to devices for women: wearables need to quickly move on from black, clunky devices; fortunately we're starting to see the first steps in this direction.
The firm said that currently antified self devices, which track fitness and well-being, were the fastest-growing category. It explained that this could be attributed to their clear purpose, user benefits and increasingly affordable prices. However, CCS Insight believes that smartwatches have a strong future growth. The company expects many smart band manufacturers to extend their product ranges by adding devices with screens. As these devices broaden their appeal, capabilities are refined, new functions are added and prices fall, the analyst firm expects smartwatches to displace fitness bands and become the most used form of wearables.
Describing the general state of the segment Koytcheva said: ‘The market is still in a chaotic stage of development, and there's still a huge amount of uncertainty. Every category faces different risks: the way people use wearables is still changing, one type of device could kill sales in another category, people are unsure whether some wearables are socially acceptable, and intellectual property rights are a minefield for the dozens of start-ups entering the wearables market.
‘The market could be changed beyond recognition if a major player like Apple decides to get into the game. History shows us that when Apple enters a market it can reshape the way people think about a product.’