Fitness trackers have been growing more irrelevant this year and are likely to continue losing steam in the coming years, with the global wearable demand now shifting to smartwatches and other product types, according to a new market report authored by the International Data Corporation. Intelligent wristbands already reached their peak popularity and while they're expected to account for over a third of all wearable shipments in 2018, their market share is set to drop to 23 percentage points by 2022, IDC estimates. With a stagnating compound annual growth rate of 0.4-percent, global fitness tracker shipments should still be hovering around the 45-million mark four years from now, though the product category as a whole will become more irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, especially as more capable offerings such as intelligent clothing and augmented reality glasses become available for purchase on a significant scale.
Google's Wear OS, formerly known as Android Wear, will more than double its market share by 2022, according to IDC. This year saw Google rebrand the ecosystem because of iPhones, with Wear OS devices being expected to account for 5.4 million shipments in 2018, or 4.3-percent of the global wearable market. IDC sees Wear OS as the fastest-growing smartwatch category over the next four years, having attached a 38-percent CAGR to the platform. IDC's latest findings are in line with what the industry itself has been saying in recent times; even high-profile smart wristband manufacturers such as Fitbit are presently struggling to make money and are shifting their research and development efforts to full-featured smartwatches in order to reinvigorate their commercial performance.
The wearable industry as a whole is still in its infancy, being expected to ship under 125 million products over the course of this year. That figure is predicted to grow to some 200 million by 2022, fueled by earwear, clothing, and devices running Google's Wear OS, as per the same report.