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November 6, 2014

Wearables live up to the hype with 40% global growth

The market sees increased demand for smartwatches and activity trackers.

By Amy-Jo Crowley

Wearable technology is fast becoming a mainstream phenomenon as global shipments reach 12.7 million units in the latest Q3, up 40% from nine million units last year.

The latest report from Futuresource Consulting, a research and forecasting firm, put the growth down to increased demand for smartwatches and fitness trackers.

Oliver Rowntree, Market Analyst at Futuresource Consulting, said: "The brand landscape continues to be dominated by fitness companies, due to the relative size of the fitness market within wearables.

"Fitbit has effectively consolidated its significant lead in activity trackers, despite the entrance of larger CE competitors. Samsung comfortably leads in the nascent smartwatch market and Garmin retains a strong lead in the traditional fitness category."

The report also predicted that 52 million devices will be sold across all wearable categories this year, up 32% from 2013.

Rowntree said: "Q4 is where we’re going to see all the action, with annual sales heavily weighted towards the pre-Christmas period.

"We’re expecting 39% of this year’s activity to drop into Q4, as wearable tech provides an appealing gifting option for consumers.

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" Looking out even further, we’re anticipating further acceleration in the pace of growth in 2015 as smartwatches become more widely adopted, with a 44% growth rate driving the market to 74 million units shipped next year."

Futuresource also expects demand for traditional fitness devices to be less than activity trackers and smartwatches, with pedometers seeing a decline in growth.

"We expect connected watches – incorporating smartwatches and wireless watches – to experience extremely strong growth over the forecast period, reaching 83 million unit shipments in total by 2018," Rowntree said.

Apple is also set to have a "significant impact" on the market with its entry in 2015, the report added.

Rowntree.added:"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."

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