Apple to Lead Smart Watch and Wearables Growth Through 2023: IDC

Apple will lead the way to smart watch growth in the next four years, reads a recent quarterly forecast by a market research firm.

According to a new forecast from International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, the market for wearable devices is on track to reach global shipments of 222.9 million units in 2019, growing to 302.3 million units in 2023 with a compound annual growth rate of 7.9 percent.

Smartwatches hold the greatest market share of wearable with 43.5% of all wearable devices. IDC says that smartwatch usage will grow from 91.8 million units in 2019 to 131.6 million four years from now.

The research firm attributes that growth to smartwatches and ear devices, which it believes will represent more than 70 percent of wearable shipments over the next four years. When asked why Apple will remain the industry leader in the smartwatch sector, the firm attributes it to the increasing demand for the companies products.

“Apple’s…nearest competitors follow by a long margin,” said Ramon T. Llamas, research director for IDC’s Wearables team. “Android also plays a big role here, but it’s mostly known as a Chinese wearables platform.”

The firm also states that as usage rates increase, smartwatches will move more into health-related applications.

“Smartwatches, as always, will still tell you the time, but will move deeper into health and fitness and connect with multiple applications and systems,” continues Llamas. “Ear-worn devices … will nudge into other areas like language translation, smart assistant deployment, and coaching.”

Ear-worn devices such as Apple’s AirPods are expected to grow from 72 million units in 2019 to 105.3 million in 2023. While many of these will be used as the front end to smart assistants or be used to track health-related metrics, IDC also expects brands to push forth added benefits such as allowing consumers the ability to cope with hearing loss or giving users the ability to fine-tune their daily listening experience.

In total, IDC anticipates 302.3 million wearable device shipments in 2023.