In a new report, research firm ON World projects that wearable tech devices — ranging from smartwatches to smart glasses to all types of wearable sensors — will constitute a $50 billion industry within the next five years. Over the next five years, it expects 700 million devices to ship globally, and projects that 330 million smartwatches will have been shipped globally by 2018, up from fewer than 3 million in 2013.
Hardware is expected to make up the majority of the area’s revenue in the next five years, though monitoring services, mobile apps, and other subscriptions will also grow. The firm also expects smartwatches, smart glasses, and wearable sensors to overtake health and fitness-focused devices, and make up two-thirds of revenue from wearable tech in 2018. ON World believes that the smartwatch will disrupt the current technology market, positing that “smartwatches will replace the application needs of many smart phone users.” The firm also surveyed 1,000 consumers and found that 55 percent preferred a wristwatch to other wearable tech, and 38 percent reported an interest in health applications of the technology.
Though the product won’t launch until the fall, the consumer survey found that “Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iWatch is the most preferred smartwatch offering even though it is not yet available.” Price is also a key factor in consumer decisions, with 40 percent of surveyed consumers willing to pay $99 or more for a smartwatch that tracked blood pressure, heart rate, and activity, while only 8 percent would be willing to pay $299 or more.
The firm evaluated current and forthcoming offerings by approximately 70 different companies competing in the wearables market, and over 50 of those manufacture smartwatches. “The top five smartwatch market leaders in 2013 were Samsung (SSNLF.PK), Nike (NYSE:NKE), Pebble, Sony (NYSE:SNE) and Garmin (NASDAQ:GRMN) with numerous new entrants in 2014 including LG (LGEAF.PK), Motorola (NYSE:MSI) and Nissan (NSANY.PK) who are joining dozens of existing competitors.”
Let’s take a look at the smartwatches offered by some of the companies who are leading the market currently, starting with the smartwatch that ON World found is already preferred by consumers even before its launch.