IDC: Smartwatches accelerate in the second quarter, Device shipments grew 10.3% year over year to hit 26.3 million units during the second quarter of 2017; smartwatches grew 60.9%.
We are seeing the transformation of the wearables market with the total shipment volumes expected to maintain their forward momentum. According to the International Data Corporation's (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, vendors will ship a total of 125.5 million wearable devices this year, marking a 20.4% increase from the 104.3 million units shipped in 2016. From there, the wearables market will nearly double before reaching a total of 240.1 million units shipped in 2021, resulting in a five-year CAGR of 18.2%. 
The wearables market is entering a new phase
In the first phase of the market development, it was about getting the product out, to generate awareness and interest and getting the customers accustomed to the idea. This opportunity remains to be explored by the traditional and fashion brands as the scale of consumer electronics market evolves. Now, the wearables market is entering a new phase, opines IDC's Ramon T. Llamas.
Now it’s about getting the experience right – from the way the hardware looks and feels to how software collects, analyzes, and presents insightful data. What this means for users is that in the years ahead, they will be treated to second- and third-generation devices that will make the today’s devices seem quaint. Expect digital assistants, cellular connectivity, and connections to larger systems, both at home and at work. At the same time, expect to see a proliferation in the diversity of devices brought to market, and a decline in prices that will make these more affordable to a larger crowd.” 
The phase 2 of the wearables development appears to be about taking the user data and provide analytics around the data to provide insights to the user, like step counts translate into a healthier heart. In this phase its about getting the customer to see the devices that actually augment the abilities to make lives easier, healthier and more productive, rather than another screen for the user. 
Top Wearable Products 
Watches: account for the majority of all wearable devices shipped during the forecast period. The report however shows that the basic watches (devices that do not run third party applications, including hybrid watches, fitness/GPS watches, and most kid watches) will continue out-ship smart watches (devices capable of running third party applications, like Apple Watch, Samsung Gear, and all Android Wear devices), as numerous traditional watch makers shift more resources to building hybrid watches, creating a greater TAM each year. The report suggests that the Smart watches, however, will see a boost in volumes in 2019 as cellular connectivity on the watches becomes more prevalent on the market.
Wrist Bands: The report indicates a slow down in the market for the wristbands from 2016 onwards, but the market will be propped up with low-cost devices with good enough features for the mass market. However, the trend seems to focus on the users transitioning to watches for additional utility and multi-purpose use.
Earwear: (this excludes the bluetooth headsets) are not counting. Instead, the report focusses on those devices that bring additional functionality, and sends information back and forth to a smartphone application. Examples include Bragi’s Dash and Samsung Gear Icon X. The report, also suggests the increase in the uptake of smarter earwear that centers on collecting fitness data about the user, real-time audio filtering or language translation.
Clothing: The smart clothing market took a strong step forward driven by the chines vendors providing connected apparel. The growth in this segment is seen to be driven by the adoption of the connected clothing by the professional athletes and organizations have warmed to their usage to improve player performance. For instance, the upcoming release of Google and Levi’s Project Jacquared-enabled jacket.
Others: include lesser known products like clip-on devices, non-AR/VR eyewear, and others into this category. It will include vendors catering to niche audiences with creative new devices and uses.
|Top Wearable Devices by Product, Volume, Market Share, and CAGR |
|Product||Shipment Volume 2017||Market Share 2017||Shipment Volume 2021*||Market Share 2021*||CAGR (2017-2021)*|
|Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Wearables Device Tracker, June 21, 2017|
|Global wearables market to grow 17% in 2017, 310M devices sold, $30.5BN revenue: Gartner | TechCrunch http://ow.ly/YFVu30eWQHL|
"Like any technology market, the wearables market is changing," noted Ramon Llamas, research manager for IDC's Wearables team. "Basic wearables started out as single-purpose devices tracking footsteps and are morphing into multi-purpose wearable devices, fusing together multiple health and fitness capabilities and smartphone notifications. It's enough to blur the lines against most smart wearables, to the point where first generation smartwatches are no better than most fitness trackers, he says.
Beyond the top 5 vendors of the wearables market, new entrants like fashion icons Fossil along with their sub-brands and emerging companies like BBK and Li-Ning, are tapping into niche segments of the wearables market. Fossil, is coming up with a luxury/fashion device, BBK focuses on child-monitoring devices and Li-Ning on step-counting shoes.
"With the entrance of multiple new vendors with strengths in different industries, the wearables market is expected to maintain a positive outlook, though much of this growth is coming from vendor push rather than consumer demand," said Jitesh Ubrani senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers. "As the technology disappears into the background, hybrid watches and other fashion accessories with fitness tracking are starting to gain traction. This presents an opportunity to sell multiple wearables to a single consumer under the guise of 'fashion.' But more importantly, it helps build an ecosystem and helps vendors provide consumers with actionable insights thanks to the large amounts of data collected behind the scenes."
|Top Five Wearable Device Vendors, Shipments, Market Share and Year-Over-Year Growth, 4Q 2016 (Units in Millions) |
|Vendor||4Q16 Unit Shipments||4Q16 Market Share||4Q15 Unit Shipments||4Q15 Market Share||Year-Over-Year Growth|
|Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, March 2, 2017|
Implications of Wearables in Healthcare
Llamas, IDC. "Health and fitness remains a major focus, but once these devices become connected to a cellular network, expect unique applications and communications capabilities to become available. This will also solve another key issue: freeing the device from the smartphone, creating a standalone experience."
Its important to note here the scalability of wearables in a clinical setting requires Intention, Education and collaboration. Some of the usecases highlighted for wearables in healthcare:
- Managing Chronic Conditions of patients who might develop a secondary or tertiary complication because of a pre-existing condition (diabetic undergoing hip replacement surgery)
- Tracking vital signs
- Manage patients recovery at home (defensive medicine) instead of the recovery in a general ward, with help of remote monitoring
- Detecting Alzheimer's, most common form of dementia
- Monitoring patients with chronic diseases and after hospitalization or the start of new medications for a decline in daily activity may help detect medical complications before rehospitalization becomes necessary
- Clinical Trials: Monitoring of recruits
- Smart Stethoscope for patients with cardiovascular disease
- Ear device to track body temperature fluctuations
- Temporary tattoo that senses vital signs
- Smart Glasses with AR enabled patient records and physician information system
Finally, here is an interesting Infographic on Wearable Technology.
- Worldwide Wearables Market to Nearly Double by 2021, According to IDC: http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS42818517
- Wearables Aren't Dead, They're Just Shifting Focus as the Market Grows 16.9% in the Fourth Quarter, According to IDC
- Xiaomi and Apple Tie for the Top Position as the Wearables Market Swells 17.9% During the First Quarter, According to IDC:
- EXCLUSIVE: Fitbit Working On Atrial Fibrillation Detection | Time.com http://time.com/4907284/fitbit-detect-atrial-fibrillation/
- The 8 Best Fitness Trackers You Can Buy Right Now: http://time.com/4553111/best-fitness-trackers-fitbit-jawbone-2016/
- Can Your Fitness Tracker (Fitbit®) Save Your Life in the ER?: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/can-your-fitness-tracker-fitbit-save-your-life-in-the-er-300246408.html
- Advocating for clinical wearables, the new normal in healthcare http://medcitynews.com/2017/08/advocating-clinical-wearables-new-normal-healthcare/?rf=1
- Global wearables market to grow 17% in 2017, 310M devices sold, $30.5BN revenue: Gartner: https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/24/global-wearables-market-to-grow-17-in-2017-310m-devices-sold-30-5bn-revenue-gartner/?ncid=rss
- What smartwatches and other wearables can't track today— but might in the future - https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/05/wearables-future-track-glucose-blood-pressure-mental-health.html
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