Worldwide shipments of wearable devices will rebound this year to 504.1 million units, after declining for the first time ever in 2022, according to a forecast from International Data Corporation (IDC).
Wearables are becoming increasingly important to communications service providers.
The 2023 IDC wearables forecast represents 2.4% year-over-year growth, “driven by sustained demand for the most popular products –earwear and smartwatches – while other products hold steady,” IDT said.
Further ahead, IDC forecasts that shipments will reach 629.4 million units in 2027, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5%.
The most popular product category among wearables remains earwear. According to the research firm, new users will be seeking out their first set and many current users will be upgrading from devices bought in 2020 and 2021, when earwear shipments reached their peak.
Smartwatches will have market-beating growth as users transition from wristbands to smartwatches and, in some cases, from basic smartwatches to advanced smartwatches, according to IDC. However, wristbands are not expected to disappear from the market as these devices will continue to appeal to users seeking simpler solutions.
“Despite the ongoing challenges in the macroeconomy, demand for wearables will push the market back into growth mode,” Ramon T. Llamas, IDC research director with the research firm’s wearables team, said in a prepared statement about the wearables forecast. “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.”