ABI Research is well-known for their in-depth researches into consumer behavior, but at times – like now – the company tends to give direction to the industry and by extension, to the public mindset in terms of sales trends. Competition in the wearable tech sphere picked up when the Korean manufacturer, Samsung, released its first Smartwatch – the Samsung Galaxy Gear. Fitness bands like the Nike Fuel band amongst others were already available in the market catering to a host of uses including heart rate monitoring, working as pedometers etc.
For this year, we would expect to see competition in the wearable arena heating up, however a lot would depend on product-categories which have a clear use case thus targeting a niche audience. In the latest from ABI Research, sales volumes of wearable devices would reach a peak of about 90 million devices, which would be shipped in 2014. This rally would be led by devices pertaining to healthcare and sports activity tracker divisions. ABI Research goes so far as to state that though Google Glass would drive interest in the wearable devices arena, the research company doesn't expect Google's wearable to be a major commercial success.
Joshua Flood, a senior analyst at ABI Research said that "The next 12 months will be a critical period for the acceptance and adoption of wearable devices. Healthcare and sports and activity trackers are rapidly becoming mass-market products. On the flipside, wearable devices like smart watches need to overcome some critical obstacles. Aesthetic design, more compelling use cases, battery life and lower price points are the main inhibitors. How vendors approach these challenges and their respective solutions will affect the wearable market far in the future." The research company also asserts that hardware manufacturers would start focusing more on research and development of tech for wearable devices. This would allow fledgling and hitherto unknown manufacturers to release their own wearable devices. However, despite this rosy picture, wearable devices – especially smartwatches have a good many hurdles to overcome, pertaining to design aesthetics, a clear and compelling use case , better battery life and an affordable price range. We'll wait and see what 2014 has to offer. In the meantime, do shout out in the comments below which wearable device you would like for yourself.