Worldwide wearables market forecasted to rebound

The rebound in wearable device shipments underscores the resilience of the market

After experiencing its first-ever decline in 2022, the worldwide shipments of wearable devices are projected to bounce back in 2023, reaching a total of 504.1 million units, according to the latest data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker. This represents a 2.4 per cent year-over-year growth, primarily driven by sustained demand for popular products such as earwear and smartwatches, while other wearable categories remain stable. Looking ahead, IDC predicts the market will see several years of single-digit growth, with shipments projected to reach 629.4 million units in 2027, resulting in a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.0 per cent.

Among the various wearable device categories, earwear is expected to remain the largest product category throughout the forecast period. The continued growth can be attributed to new users entering the market for the first time, as well as existing users upgrading from devices purchased in 2020 and 2021, when earwear shipments reached their peak. Smartwatches are anticipated to experience market-beating growth as users transition from wristbands to more advanced smartwatches. However, wristbands are expected to maintain their presence in the market, appealing to users seeking simpler wearable solutions. Additionally, other wearable categories, including clothing, rings, non-augmented or virtual reality glasses, and others, are projected to show growth, albeit from a smaller base.

Ramon T. Llamas, research director with IDC’s Wearables team, stated, “Despite the ongoing challenges in the macroeconomy, demand for wearables will push the market back into growth mode. We still anticipate new devices to come out later this year, and these will coincide with replacement purchases for those who acquired a new device several years ago. This sets up a virtuous cycle for future purchases in the coming years, resulting in continued growth for the overall market.”

Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers, highlighted the role of emerging markets in driving continuous growth. While mature markets such as North America and Europe will see replacements as a significant driver, emerging markets, including India, will contribute to the growth as first-time buyers enter the market. Ubrani noted that India has surpassed the United States and China in terms of market size and is expected to remain the largest market due to the availability of affordable yet feature-rich devices from local vendors. In addition to India, other Asian countries, the Middle East, and Africa are expected to lead in terms of shipment growth, while China and the USA will retain their positions as the second and third largest markets, respectively.

The rebound in wearable device shipments underscores the resilience of the market and the increasing integration of wearables into consumers’ lives. As technology continues to advance and user preferences evolve, the wearable device industry is poised for sustained growth, offering exciting opportunities for both manufacturers and consumers.



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