Figures show runaway global success for wearable tech in Europe and across the world

A report by Futuresource Consulting demonstrates that 2018 was a milestone year for wrist-worn wearables when, for the first time, over 100 million units were shipped worldwide. During Q1 of 2019, global shipments of wearable devices reached 49.6 million, up 55.2% on the same period last year.

The analysis suggests that the digital fitness wave is gathering momentum in a variety of fitness verticals, and has yet to reach its peak. It will proliferate through the next decade and beyond, enabled by meta- technological trends such as the ubiquity of connectivity, improvements in energy efficiency, developments in edge and cloud computing and advances in machine learning and AI. The wrist-worn wearable is one consumer device that Futuresource expects to benefit from these developments, and the major players continue to be Apple, Xiaomi, Fitbit and Fossil.
With gamification becoming a mainstream requirement for software and service providers, plus the hyper- personalisation of data- driven feedback also becoming increasingly important, particularly for performance-driven athletes, the predicted trend is for wearable devices to further shift from being mobile accessories towards becoming standalone devices. Futuresource expects growth to continue throughout the forecast period, with shipments predicted to exceed 145 million units worldwide in 2022, achieving a retail value over €25bn. This will be driven predominantly by replacement sales and the ongoing uptake of smartwatches, and other wrist-worn and ear-worn devices. The growth of connected watches will be driven primarily by smartwatch adoption, accounting for 52% of shipments in 2023. Activity trackers will retain the largest segment within the category in 2023, accounting for 69% of fitness device shipments.