It used to be an easy joke to complain about how everybody on a train or a bus spends more time staring at their phones than talking to each other. Well, in a few short years, those same luddites will be able to complain about everybody staring at their wrists.
According to Tractica’s Wearable Device Market Forecasts, the number of wearables shipped to consumers is about to explode. Though just 85 million units were delivered in 2015, an astonishing 36.9 percent CAGR will inflate yearly sales to 559.6 million by 2021. With manufacturers of fitness trackers, smartwatches and a new crop of IoT-enabled wearables working out the kinks to produce truly addictive products, Tractica Research Director Aditya Kaul explained that their efforts will soon pay off — and big.
“2015 was the biggest year for wearables by far, with fitness trackers outperforming industry expectations and smartwatches coming out strong,” Kaul said in a statement. “While fitness is the overwhelming driver for wearables today, there are a number of micro-segments emerging, ranging from kids’ watches to smart footwear to new health care devices, like wearable patches, that will drive this market forward.”
While part of this surge in wearables sales will be attributed to tech companies pushing out more and more cutting-edge devices, Tractica also noted that the rising tide of IoT will also affect traditionally worn devices, like wristwatches and jewelry. These products will slowly gain features like NFC payment capabilities or low Bluetooth energy sensors, which creates a whole new market for customers that want some more tech oomph in their fashion accessories but aren’t willing to jump on the wearables bandwagon just yet.
That being said though, if wearables keep up anything close to the torrid sales pace Tractica indicated after 2021, those ambivalent consumers might not have much of a choice when they’re awash in a sea of smartwatches, step-counters and body cameras.