The number of smart wearable devices sold worldwide will more than quadruple in the next five years, according to a recent report from Juniper Research. It’s forecast that sales figures for consumer and business versions of smart glasses and mobile health/fitness devices will rise from almost 15 million devices this year to nearly 70 million by 2017.
Sales revenue from smart wearable devices market is expected to increase from $800 million this year to more than $1.5 billion by 2014, with North America and Western Europe generating over 60% of device sales.
Fitness and sports wearable devices are expected to be the most popular smart accessories, followed by healthcare devices. Together, these devices are expected to account for 80% of the smart wearable device market in 2017. The number of fitness/sports devices sold per year is expected to be larger than the amount of healthcare devices sold, although higher prices for health-related technology will result in the health sector generating slightly more retail value.
Augmented reality headsets such as Google Project Glass - along with similar competing products from Microsoft and Apple - will make a significant difference to adoption rates towards the end of the forecast period, particularly as retail prices begin to drop.
However, the report notes that wearable devices will need to be supported by applications to help their adoption… and warns that there are various social, legal and technological barriers to adoption.
Nitin Bhas, author of the report and Senior Analyst at Juniper Research, said “The development of the smartphone/app store model has opened up new avenues for other segments within the market, such as the wearable device market, by combining mobility with an efficient method of software delivery. The simultaneous development of app-ecosystem and wearable devices will integrate technologies, such as augmented reality, into human life more seamlessly.”