Gartner: Wearables to Grow 17% in 2017

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According to Gartner global wearable device sales are to reach 310.4 million in 2017-- a 16.7% increase over 2016, with revenues reaching $30.5 billion, of which $9.3bn coming from smartwatches.

In fact, the analyst says smartwatches are on pace to account for the highest unit sales of all wearable device form factors from 2019 to 2021 (aside from Bluetooth headsets), with 2017 sales reaching 41.5m. Smartwatch sales are estimated to total nearly 81m by 2021, making 16% of total wearable device sales.

Gartner wearables

Helping smartwatch revenues the relatively stable ASP of the Apple Watch. Higher volumes inevitably lead to "slight" reduction in manufacturing and component costs, but strong brands such as Apple and Fossil should keep pricing consistent with that of traditional watches. Thus, Gartner says smartwatch ASPs will drop from $223.25 in 2017 to $214.99 in 2021.

As one might expect, Apple is the smartwatch leader, even if Gartner predicts its market share will decrease from around 30% in 2016 to 25% in 2021, the result of more vendors entering the market. The analyst also expects other CE brands (such as Asus, Huawei, LG, Samsung and Sony) to only sell 15% of smartphones in 2021, since such companies lack the appeal of lifestyle brands for personal technologies.

Gartner also points out two "significant" smartwatch sub-categories-- kids' smartwatches and traditional watch brands. Kids' smartwatches (defined as devices aimed at children in the 2-13 age range) are to make 30% of overall smartwatch shipments in 2021. As for traditional watch brands, these will account for 25% of smartwatch units by 2021.

A final sub-brand is startups and white labels (Archos, Cogito, Compal, Omate et al), which account for 5% of 2021 smartwatch sales.

In other wearable devices, 2017 Bluetooth headset sales total 150 million, a 16.7% increase over 2016, making them the most popular wearables through 2021. Meanwhile head-mounted displays (HMDs) account for just 7% of 2017 wearable devices, and will not reach mainstream status with either consumer or industrial customers through 2021.

However Gartner points out a near-term opportunities in virtual reality HMDs with gamers, workers in some industries, theme parks, theatres, museums and sports venues.

Go Gartner Forecast: Wearable Electronic Devices WW 2017