As tech companies look to the smart watch as the next big device segment, shipments of the devices are set to skyrocket. According to a new report from market research firm Next Market Insights, 373 million smart watches are predicted to ship in 2020. That's a massive increase from the 15 million smart watches expected to ship next year.
Interestingly, Next Market predicts that the real acceleration in the smart watch market will come from traditional watchmakers. Such companies are expected to expand into the smart watch segment as display and processor manufacturing capabilities improve.
"The watch industry ships over 1 billion watches a year, and there are nearly 7 billion mobile subscribers worldwide today," says Michael Wolf, Chief Analyst. "We believe the smart watch category can become a substantial market opportunity even with fairly modest penetration of the broader mobile and watch-wearing public."
In particular, "standalone" smart watches that don't rely on a smartphone to function are expected to fare well in the market. These types of watches will have their own phone and data capabilities built-in.
"We believe native voice and data capabilities in smart watches will be attractive to a segment of the market," said Michael Wolf, chief analyst at Next Market. "Both for those who would use it in backup and lifeline scenarios, as well as those who see might see a smart watch as a replacement for a phone in certain use cases common in the youth and active lifestyle watch segments."
(Image courtesy Samsung)