If Canalys has it right, 2014 is the year wearable technology is really going to take off. Though we’ve seen relatively modest sales up until now, the firm has announced that following recent research, it believes this is the year wearables are going to become a “key consumer technology,” and huge sales have been forecasted as a result.
In a press release published by Canalys, the research firm predicts collective sales of more than 17 million wearable bands in 2014, noting that the second half of 2013 saw 1.6 million “smart bands” ship. “Basic and smart wearable band shipments grew dramatically in the second half of 2013. Fitbit became the new leader of the wearable band market,” Canalys explains, drawing attention to the release of the Flex and Force activity monitors in May and October 2013, respectively.
As such, Fitbit held on to a staggering 58 percent of the “basic” wearable bands market in the second half of 2013; Jawbone took a 21 percent share of this market, and 14 percent was allocated to Nike (as pictured above). Canalys adds:
Though currently a relatively small market serving fitness enthusiasts, wearable bands represent a massive opportunity in the medical and wellness segment.
Smart bands, on the other hand, were dominated by Samsung’s disappointing (but successful) Galaxy Gear, with the South Korean company accounting for 54 percent of smart band shipments in the same period. Sony took a 19 percent share, and Pebble – the Kickstarter-funded smart watch that recently received a unified Appstore – took 16 percent.
Chris Jones, vice president and Principal Analyst at Canalys, envisages basic and smart bands converging in one forthcoming product – or series of products. He said: “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.”
Apple’s own smart watch could be one such release. As a reminder, recent analysis has indicated that while retaining (and expanding on) functionality typical of smart bands, the Apple-made smart watch is expected to borrow heavily from the basic band category to offer users a range of health and fitness services.
The news of several iWatch-related hires and job advertisements – including the Chief Medical Officer behind the iSpO2 Pulse Oximeter and a position scouting for an exercise and fitness physiologist – appear to support these claims.
An Apple-made smart watch would drive wearables sales, for sure, but whether such a product is set for release this year still remains to be seen. We’ll keep you updated with further information as we receive it.
In the meantime, see: Sweet! Chillingo Takes On King’s Candy Crush Saga With New Jelly Love Match–3 Game, Apple Pushing Ahead With ‘Less Ambitious’ TV Service, Report Claims, and Rescue The Girl And Don’t Die In The New iOS Platformer Game Super Obstacle Boy.