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The global wearables market: sales, forecasts and trends

We asked our global wearables product lead, Jan Wassman, three key questions about this fast-growing sector.

Read the transcript below or scroll down to watch the video interview:

How did the wearables market perform in 2014?

According to our data, we saw 2.9 million units being sold in 2014 in the most important markets of Europe – Germany, Great Britain and France. 40% of these 2.9 million units were sold in the fourth quarter, especially in the Christmas season. This was a huge uptake in the market.

This makes us pretty optimistic for 2015 that this trend will continue as major tech companies have already announced new products for the first quarter.

How many wearable devices will be sold in 2015?

We project overall that 72 million units will be sold worldwide in 2015, mainly in the developed world. This will be a major uptake regarding the projections for 2014 which were only 30 million.

But as far as you can see there is a lot of development in the market, especially when it comes to new designs of devices that are more appealing to female consumers. We think at the moment that 50% of the market remains untapped because of design limitations – currently they are generally appealing to early adopters who, according to our information, are male consumers between the age of 25-33 years who already possess a lot of other tech devices.

What should manufacturers do to be successful in this market?

First of all, manufacturers need to address the competition to the limited wrist space. Consumers only have two wrists and often they wear a wrist watch there. As such, they need some pretty convincing arguments to replace that normal wrist watch with a smartwatch.

The second barrier is manufacturers really need to educate consumers of the benefits of these devices. To do this they need further consumer insights of how people are perceiving these kinds of products and how they are using them. Then they could come up with new scenarios that will convince more consumers of the benefits or advantages of a wearable device over a smartphone.

For expertise and insights on wearables market and our latest point of sales data, please contact Jan Wassmann at jan.wassmann@gfk.com.

Source: GfK Point of Sales Tracking and GfK Trends and Forecasting, February 2015

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