Fitbit is the king of wearables, that much we already know, and it’s that sort of device that’s helping the industry explode in popularity. According to research firm IDC, the wearable market is expected to pop 173.3 percent this year.
The company said that the industry shipped 26.4 million wearables last year but that, thanks to what it calls “basic wearables,” vendors are expected to ship as many as 72.1 million wearables in 2015. “The demand for basic wearables, those that do not run third party apps, has been absolutely astounding,” IDC senior research analyst Jitesh Ubrani said. “Vendors like Fitbit and Xiaomi have helped propel the market with their sub-$100 bands, and IDC expects this momentum will continue throughout 2015.”
More capable and “smarter” devices, such as those powered by watchOS, Tizen, Android Wear and Windows, are expected to help the growth continue into next year. “Smart wearables like the Apple Watch and Microsoft’s Hololens are indicative of an upcoming change in computing, and the transition from basic to smart wearables opens up a slew of opportunities for vendors, app developers, and accessory makers.”
IDC research manager Ramon Llamas said that vendors are still vying for the “best in class” product for each platform but that “we’re not there yet.” No doubt the popularity of wearables such as the Fitbit will start to inform consumers of what smarter wearables are capable of, and that should help push the industry moving forward.