Sales of the Apple Watch are helping to shore up worldwide revenues for wearable devices, which surged by 133 per cent to $6bn in the first quarter of 2016.
Research conducted by Futuresource Consulting found that Apple is now one of the largest watchmakers in the world, despite sales of the smartwatch missing early forecasts and sitting just behind traditional watch brands such as Rolex and Swatch.
Apple already outranks watch makers Fossil, Citizen and Casio, indicating that the brand has the power to disrupt traditional players in markets that have been affected by the rise of digital technology.
Wearables such as fitness and activity tracking bands account for significant volumes of wearables sales, rising 18 per cent in the first quarter to 10.7 million units.
However, this growth is in part down to falling prices, which dropped by an average of 40 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014.
Spending on health and fitness wearables, such as the Fitbit, grew by only two per cent in 2015, and is not expected to see much of a hike this year.
Sales of smartwatches appear to be eating into the success of wearable health and fitness devices, thanks in part to the Apple Watch which includes health and activity trackers and will be expanded with more in watchOS 3.
The growth of smartwatches in the wearables market makes it unsurprising to see large technology companies acquiring smaller wearables-focused companies, such as Nokia buying Withings as part of a push into this space.
Wearable devices are claimed to add six months to an owner’s life, and there is clear potential for their use in industrial sectors such as oil and gas, so the market might enjoy a spike in growth once companies figure out the best way to adopt and deploy wearables.
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