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IDC Wearable Market Forecast has the Smartwatch Overtaking this Sector by 2020

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In May we posted a report titled "Apple Watch is the Top Smartwatch in the World Q1 2016." IDC statistics showed that Apple held a 46% market share lead. The latest IDC report takes a look at the wearable trends through to 2020 which bodes well for Apple. According to their latest research, IDC forecasts that smartwatches will overtake the current wearables market share leading device, wrist bands, by a wide margin. Smartwatches will steadily rise from 41% to 52.1% by 2020 while wrist band devices will continue to fall from 50.5% today to 28.5% in that same time frame.


IDC finds that there are two factors driving the wearables market forward wil be cellular connectivity and applications. Ramon T. Llamas, research manager for IDC's Wearables program stated that "Cellular connectivity essentially frees the wearable from being tethered to a smartphone. The immediate use case will be to make telephone calls, but it goes well beyond that. Cellular connectivity on a wearable can transmit and receive data, including time, location, and other data about a user and his or her surroundings. Imagine what that means when tracking steps, analyzing patient activity, or shopping: the information can be shared immediately with a second or third party, and the user can, in turn, receive context appropriate information back.


Llamas added that "The trajectory of the wearables market signals a strong opportunity for developers. Applications increase the value and utility of a wearable, and users want to see more than just their health and fitness results. News, weather, sports, social media, and Internet of Things (IoT) applications will all have a place on a wearable. And, when combined with cellular connectivity, users will not have to take out their smartphones to get the latest information. All they will need to do is glance at their wearable."


The last point made by Llamas is of course a little over simplified and ambitious. If you like news, the best a smartwatch will do is give you an interesting headline. Though overall, providing users with killer apps is always be a major factor in driving new users to a device category.


The IDC covers other wearable categories such as eyewear and clothing, but these will play a significantly smaller role in the market through to 2020. Whether these other categories will be able to grab more of the consumer's attention over time is debatable at this time. For more on this research, see the full IDC report here.  


On Monday Apple sent out a press release after their WWDC keynote titled "Apple Previews watchOS 3; Faster, Simpler with Breakthrough Health Features." The press release covered Instant Performance & Simple Navigation; Fitness and Health; All-New Communication; Watch Faces and more. Apple will be aggressively advancing the Apple Watch over the next several year to maintain their lead in this device category.


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