Global Wearables Market to Reach 559.7 mn Units: IDC

IDC’s latest report said the wearables market is poised for further growth in 2024 and device shipments are expected to reach 559.7 million units, marking a 10.5 percent increase over 2023.
Forecast on wearable business for 2024 IDC reportLooking ahead, IDC anticipates the wearables market to grow to 645.7 million units by the end of 2028, boasting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.6 percent.

Ramon T. Llamas, research director with IDC’s Wearables team, said: “The year 2024 will be the start of the rebound as users will look for replacements and new models from key vendors launch during the second half of this year. This will carry into 2025 and beyond.”

IDC’s Wearable Device Tracker reveals a downturn of 0.9 percent in the global wearable devices market in the fourth quarter of 2023 (4Q23) as markets such as the United States, Western Europe, and Japan experienced declines in 4Q23 owing to subdued demand, and inventory surplus from previous quarters.

Nevertheless, shipments of wearables witnessed a 1.7 percent growth in the Asia/Pacific region and China, primarily fueled by burgeoning interest in emerging markets.

Despite the quarterly dip, global shipments of wearable devices managed to eke out a 1.7 percent growth for the entire year of 2023.

Among the various device categories, hearables saw a modest decline of 0.8 percent, securing 61.3 percent of the overall wearables market. The category, characterized by a slow pace of innovation and rapid adoption, relies more on replacements than attracting new consumers.

Conversely, smartwatches continued their upward trajectory with an 8.7 percent increase in shipments, driven by India and China emerging as key markets for both vendors and consumers.

Rings, exemplified by brands like Oura and Ultrahuman, displayed promising growth at 34.9 percent throughout the year, while glasses without a display experienced a remarkable surge of 128.2 percent, buoyed by the launch of new products from industry giants Amazon and Meta.

“By providing a discreet form factor and multi-day battery life, rings avoid some of the key shortcomings of smartwatches and hence appeal to a broader audience. The form factor has long relied on a subscription-based business model, which is expected to subside in the short term as competition heats up,” Jitesh Ubrani, research manager at IDC, said.