For almost one year now wearable computing has been the tech segment to watch. Though Apple's rumored iWatch has not yet made an appearance both tech companies and apparel companies have found success with wrist-mounted computing devices. As head-worn gadgets come of age later this year the entire wearable computing segment is now set to finally take off.
Market research firm IDC today released a report predicting that more than 19 million wearable computing devices will be shipped worldwide this year. This number is more than three times the number of wearables shipped during 2013. The firm also predicts that the segment will grow at an average annual rate of 78.4% through 2018, when nearly 112 million wearable devices are expected to ship.
Though more robust wearable solutions such as Samsung's Galaxy Gear are expected to lead the market eventually, right now devices such as the Jawbone, Fitbit, and Nike's FuelBand are top-sellers. IDC is calling these devices "complex accessories" on account of their reliance on smartphones and the firm predicts that they will continue to lead the market over the next four years.
"Complex accessories have succeeded in drawing much-needed interest and attention to a wearables market that has had some difficulty gaining traction," said Ramon Llamas, research manager for mobile phones at IDC. "The increased buzz has prompted more vendors to announce their intentions to enter this market. Most importantly, end-users have warmed to their simplicity in terms of design and functionality, making their value easy to understand and use."
Beyond 2018 IDC sees smart wearables that need no connection to another device gaining traction in the market. Fully-independent smart watches and headwear such as Google Glass will eventually become major players in the space, though it may take time for these platforms to mature and find their niche.
IDC's report also surveyed consumers worldwide about the brands they trust for wearable computing. Oddly enough, Samsung came out on top of the survey as more trusted than even Apple or Google. This could be because Samsung already has a proven place in the wearables market with its moderately successful Galaxy Gear device.
Image via Samsung