by Zuriñe Dopacio González

April 5, 2017

Latest Forecasts on Wearables

A lot of you have for sure been wondering if the wearable market is still on the rise or if is going down. Latest forecasts from CCS Insight are showing that the smartwatch market is increasing, estimating that 43 million smartwatches will be shipped in 2017, with sales doubling over the next four years to 86 million units in 2021. 

Since the launch of the Apple Watch back in 2015, many other companies have followed the same path, fashion and consumer brands like Fossil or TAG Heuer have been the trailblazer for this category.

CCS Insight also notes that performance fitness watches from companies such as Garmin, TomTom, Polar and Suunto are seeing steady growth while continuing to deliver consistent sales volumes over the past few years. 

CCS Insight’s forecasts for smartwatches form part of the company’s broader wearables forecast, which encompasses fitness bands, smart clothing (including footwear), hearables and wearable cameras. This vibrant market is expected to grow in value from just over $10 billion in 2017 to almost $17 billion by 2021.

On another point, Tractica also forecasts an increase of the wearables devices until 2021, with total shipments for all wearable devices to 560 million in 2021, which means an estimated device revenue of  $95.3 billion in 2021. 


Tractica’s assumption in 1Q 2015 was that smartwatches would dampen the growth of fitness trackers. It seems to be a larger population of users, beyond fitness enthusiasts, adopting fitness trackers today, including those that are unfit and would like to use trackers as a way to educate themselves about their activity levels. However, the bulk of the revenue for wearables will still come from smart watches due to the higher average selling prices (ASPs). 

The Apple Watch has pushed both large and small-to-medium watch manufacturers into action, with multiple micro-segments and price brackets emerging from kids’ watches, fashion watches, watches for the elderly, watches for adventurers, analog smart watches, voice-controlled smart watches, and many others. Tractica’s estimates for smart watch shipments through 2020 have been increased compared to last year, with shipments in 2021 reaching 227.3 million. This is still less than 25% of the overall shipments for watches globally.

Fitness trackers have emerged much stronger than earlier anticipated. Despite concerns about early abandonment of trackers, and the possible cannibalization by smart watches, fitness trackers remain one of the largest wearable segments in terms of shipments with annual fitness tracker shipments reaching 187.2 million by 2021. 

While fitness is the overwhelming driver for wearables today, there are a number of micro-segments emerging, ranging from kids’ watches, to smart footwear, to new healthcare devices like wearable patches that will drive this market forward. However, we can’t forget the watch industry as we are seeing that smartwatches are playing an important role in the wearables market as we recently saw at Baselworld.