Wearable technology market set to grow greatly in the next 18 months

The wearable technology market is set to expand markedly over the next 18 months, new figures from YouGov suggest.

In Q2 2014, 2% of the population (around 940,000) owned or had access to a wearable device. However, with brands such as Samsung, Pebble, LG and Sony having released devices and rumours abounding that Apple intends to release an iWatch, the market is ripe for growth. YouGov’s data suggest that by the end of 2014, up to 6% of the population (approximately 2.8 million adults) will own or have access to one.

There are essentially three types of wearable in the market. The first is for the general health and fitness market and contains brands including the Nike Fuelband, Galaxy Gear fit, Fitbit, and Jawbone. The second is more sports-specific and aimed at more serious sportspeople who own specific brands associated with the sport (e.g. Garmin or TomTom). The last cohort has the devices as accessories and is more likely to use things such as pebble watch, Galaxy Gear etc.

YouGov’s figures, from its “Fitness and Wearables” study, show that main reasons for owning one of the devices differ depending on the category of wearable. However, sports and fitness-related reasons figure highly. Almost half use them to measure and improve fitness (48%) or to keep motivated (47%). The data also confirm that current wearables owners fit a typical early-adopter profile. Almost two-thirds are males (63%) and those aged between 25 and 44 representing over half (51%) of the market.

Russell Feldman, YouGov’s Director of Technology and Telecoms, says: “Wearables are set to grow markedly over the next 18 months. Presently only early adopters own them but as the range of products expand, more consumers will come on board. The market will reach its first critical mass over the next year-or so, moving it from niche to more mainstream. So the next wave of wearable owners will be the key group for device manufacturers, retailers and ecosystem partners.

"We know from looking at our data where these respondents are likely to get their devices from, how much they spend, their current ecosystems and how these can play into what they will get. It will be interesting to see whether the rise of the wearable will be anything like as quick as the growth of the tablet.”

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