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Wearable sales to decline once hype dwindles

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:wearables? smartwatch? smartphone?

Most wearable devices today are just a consumer product that do not add much value to our lives, yet they incur considerable cost and inconveniences of their own. That will change soon, according to the Wearable Sensor and Electronic market report, which was recently published by market research firm The Information Network.

So far, most of the wearable devices we have seen have been gimmicks and are likely to be transient. Nike announced earlier in 2014 that it had decided to stop making its FuelBand, a wearable fitness device. Last month, smartwatch pioneer Pebble revealed it will make its platform accessible to more people by permanently dropping the price of the original Pebble and the Pebble Steel, putting them at $99 and $199 respectively.

The Information Network projects that the wearable market will split into two camps. Those with a "wow" factor will falter and go the way of the tablet, which we forecast to exhibit flat sales over the next several years. These devices include wearable cameras and sports/activity trackers. However, the other camp of wearables will grow strongly, focusing on the healthcare industry and smartwatches. The healthcare industry is one of the biggest opportunities for wearables, which will be used to provide data management and display systems, enabling doctors to handle the flood of electronic health data and access it when they need it while examining a patient.

"To seize mass-market adoption, wearables need to be essential and work as standalones. Because of the duplicity of functions on wearables and smartphones, wearable computing will need to cannibalise the smartphone market," noted Kristian Castellano, an analyst with The Information Network. "People will still use smartphones, just as people still use PCs, but what people do on smartphones today will be done instead on a wearable device."

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