UK sales of wearables set to top five million this year


CCS Insight predicts number of wearables in use will top 10 million, with the market set to treble to 33m by 2020

CCS Insight predicts the the UK wearables market will reach five million sales this year, with 10 million in use by the end of the year.

The latest wearables forecast from the analysts expect this number to triple over the next four years so that 33 million will be in use by 2020, when the market will break £1 billion.

Apple WatchFitness trackers are seeing the biggest sales volume, with 1.7 million expected this year, but smartwatches are set to become the big money category, with sales worth more than £300 million.

By 2020, CCS expects this sub-category to account for 34 per cent of the value of the wearables market as shipments more than double from 1.5 million to 3.6 million.

CCS Insight wearables analyst George Jijiashvili said: “Advances in design and affordability mean that this year wearables have become devices that ordinary people actually want to wear.

“Consumers in the UK have adopted wearable technology enthusiastically, particularly fitness trackers, which are becoming an increasingly commonplace accessory on people’s wrists.”

However, Jijiashvili cautions that “the real challenge now lies in making sure people who have a wearable device keep on using it rather than abandoning it after a few months.”

AR, VR and wearable cameras

Other sections of the wearables market that CSS expects to grow quickly include virtual reality and augmented reality headsets, and wearable cameras.

Smartphone slots onto the front of the Gear VR
Smartphone slots onto the front of the Gear VR

The analysts expect 800,000 VR headsets to ship in the UK this year, driven by strong sales of smartphone-based devices such as the Samsung Gear VR and the LG 360 VR.

Dedicated VR headsets, such as the HTC Vive and the Sony Playstation VR, are expected to remain a small part of the market, which will be worth around £250 million by 2020.

Wearables cams are also expected to remain a niche product, but sales are predicted to top 1.3 million by the end of 2020.

Jijiashvili added: “”All eyes are on virtual reality given it’s one of the hottest new technology areas to emerge this year. There’s going to be a deluge of exciting 360-degree content widely available on Facebook and YouTube, and we’re confident consumers will be keen to try it. The arrival of several 360-degree cameras during 2016 will further fuel the explosion of what we’re calling surroundies.”

For a full report on the opportunities around wearables, see issue 614 of Mobile News magazine, due to be published on May 16.