With smartphone and tablet markets beginning to saturate in established markets, tech manufacturers are now hoping that wearable computing will lift mobile sales and revenue. Smart watches and wrist bands are the first wave of wearable computing to hit the market, and shipments of the devices are now set to ramp up during 2014.
Market research firm Canalys today released a new report showing that combined smart watch and smart band shipments hit 1.6 million during the second half of 2013, representing a huge increase in shipments. The firm predicts that shipments will increase even more this year, with more than 17 million units expected to ship in 2014. This number is expected to increase to 23 million units next year and 45 million units by the year 2017.
Much of the smart band/watch shipments during the second half of 2013 came from two companies - Samsung and Fitbit. Fitbit's line of fitness bands led the smart band market during the second half of the year, making up a full 58% of the market. Jawbone (21%) and Nike (14%) follow Fitbit's market lead with their own fitness band products.
For the smart watch market Samsung's late-year Galaxy Gear launch gave the Korean manufacturer 54% of all smart watch shipments during the second half of 2013. Sony is the runner-up in the smart watch market with 19% of shipments during the period and Pebble also made up a significant 16% of the market.
Samsung launched the Galaxy Gear with a major marketing push that gained significant consumer interest," said Chris Jones, principal analyst at Canalys. "Shipments of the device took Samsung to the top of the smart band category, though disappointing sell-through will necessitate more promotional activity in coming months. Basic band vendors have greater wearable expertise and have shipped greater numbers to date, but smart bands are already growing faster. Increasingly, smart bands will adopt basic band features as the two categories converge.