The future of the Apple Watch continues to look bright.
According to new analysis by IDC, the wearable device is expected to capture almost 50 percent of the market this year with 14 million units shipped. That’s an increase from the estimated 11 million Apple Watches sold in 2015.
By 2020, the firm forecasts that Apple could sell 31.0 million watches. Interestingly, while Apple’s sales numbers will continue to rise, the competition in the market will also continue to grow.
Apple is estimated to have a 37.6 percent share of the market in 2020. Android Wear devices will come in second place with 28.8 million units sold, good enough for 35 percent of the market. Other major players in four years include wearables running Tizen, Android, Linux, Pebble OS, and proprietary real-time operating systems.
IDC's forecast for this year and in 2020.
“Although smartwatches like the Apple Watch or Android Wear devices capture the spotlight, they will only account for a quarter of all wearables in 2016 and will grow to about a third by 2020,” said Jitesh Ubrani, Senior Research Analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers. “It’s time to start thinking about smarter watches — traditional watches with some sort of fitness or sleep tracking but are unable to run apps—built by classic watch makers. These devices have the potential of making the technology invisible while still integrating themselves within day-to-day activities.
“By creating smarter watches, vendors also stand to side-step some of the typical challenges that smartwatch platforms face,” added Ubrani. “There’s no need to create a developer or app ecosystem for one thing, and there’s plenty of room for simpler devices that appeal to the average user while smartwatches continue catering to the technophiles.”
In 2016, 110 million wearable devices are expected to be shipped. By 2020, that number could reach 237.1 million.
The future of the Apple Watch
Apple is widely expected to unveil a second-generation watch sometime this fall. The new device is believed to be thinner, offer better battery life, a FaceTime camera, and other upgrades in the medical and health arena.
At Monday’s special media event, which is expected to bring the “iPhone SE” and a new iPad model, Apple is apparently planning to introduce a number of new watch bands for the current device.