CCS Insight: It will be a transformative year for wearables

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Analyst predicts shipments will jump 158 per cent this year to 75 million, with the arrival of the Apple Watch making it a transformative year for the marketĀ 

Sales of wearables will grow from 29 million last year to 172 million in 2018, with a spike this year that will see shipments rise 158 per cent to 75 million.

This is according to the latest global wearables forecast from analyst CCS Insight, which predicted that smartwatches and fitness trackers will be the most popular products.

It claimed the next 12 months will be a “transformative year” for the wearables market thanks to the arrival of the Apple Watch (pictured), which will go on sale in April and account for a quarter of the market this year with sales of 20 million units.

CCS Insight said the product will create a frenzy of demand, catapulting it almost immediately to be the most successful smartwatch ever and expects Apple to employ its full marketing arsenal and the power of its brand to create another must-have device.

The analyst added the current love affair US consumers have with the iPhone guarantees a strong start for the Apple Watch in its home market but if sales of it fail to meet expectations, it could hurt the whole market.

Ben Wood, chief of research, CCS Insight
Ben Wood, chief of research, CCS Insight

CCS Insight chief of research Ben Wood said: “The Apple Watch will be instrumental in taking the wearables market to the next level of growth. If successful, it’ll create a rising tide that will lift the whole market.

“People without an iPhone will still have a huge choice of alternative wearables. If the Apple Watch performs as well as expected, its halo effect will result in a sales bonanza in the second half of 2015, with record-breaking shipments in the important fourth quarter.”

Fitness bands from companies such as Fitbit and Jawbone will also continue to dominate the wearables market, according to CCS Insight, with sales doubling this year to 40 million units.

“In contrast to many other commentators, we don’t believe smartwatches will dent sales of fitness products in the short term,” said CCS Insight analyst George Jijiashvili.

“Smart fitness devices do one thing and do it well: they measure activity with the goal of improving owners’ well-being. This, combined with lower retail prices, longer battery life and a strong head start in terms of adoption, suggests that these devices will outperform smartwatches for several years to come.”

The analyst said action cameras were a central product in the market’s early stages and remained the second-biggest category last year with sales of almost six million units. Although it predicts further growth in the wearable camera segment boosted by more affordable and capable products, the near-universal access to cameras on smartphones will limit total sales.

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