Wearable technology is moving beyond a small group of early adopters and going mainstream.
That is the conclusion of market tracker IDC, which predicted sales of wearable technology items would triple this year to 19 million units worldwide, growing to 111.9 million by 2018.
“Wearable computing is still at the launchpad,” IDC research manager Ramon Llamas said.
“The market has certainly warmed up to the notion of wearables, but the spectrum of devices is so large, ranging from very simple, single-purpose devices to full-fledged computers that different categories will be able to gain salience sooner than others,” he added.
IDC said the wearable sector is still led by fitness trackers such as Nike + FuelBand, Jawbone UP and Fitbit devices.
“The increased buzz has prompted more vendors to announce their intentions to enter this market,” Llamas said.
“Most importantly, end users have warmed to their simplicity, in terms of design and functionality, making their value easy to understand and use,” he added.
Smart accessories, such as the smartwatches from Pebble, Samsung and Sony “will also take a giant step forward, but their value proposition has yet to be completely clarified,” an IDC report said.
The report said that wearable items such as Google Glass will not reach millions of consumers before 2016.
“To succeed, smart-wearable vendors must persuade users to shift to a new user experience while offering them a robust selection of third-party applications,” IDC said.