Wearable technology sales set to soar by 2018

Experts have predicted a huge boost for wearable devices over the next few years, with CCS Insight's global forecast expecting sales to rise from 9.7 million in 2013 to 135 million by 2018, reports Marketing Week.

Of these sales, it is thought that wrist-worn devices such as smart watches and smart bands will account for more than 80 per cent. These devices have become known as "quantified self" devices, which track the movement, behaviour and activity of the wearer before feeding data back to their chosen device.

CCS Insight claims the overwhelming popularity of wrist-worn devices comes down to their affordability and marketability due to their "clear purpose". Devices with their own SIM cards, that don't require a smartphone or similar device to work, are also expected to make an impact from the latter half of 2014.

Christmas will likely spark a rise in sales for wearables, and the company has pointed to the need for tech companies to develop devices that appeal to a wider audience.

Marina Koytcheva, CCS Insight director of forecasting, said: "The wearables market is in its Stone Age right now. There needs to be huge improvements to broaden their appeal. This is particularly acute when it comes to devices for women: wearables need to quickly move on from black, clunky devices fortunately we're starting to see the first steps in this direction."

The move away from using smart bands in conjunction with smartphones poses its own problems, of course, requiring manufacturers to include screens to those devices. Smart watches may have the advantage as these changes start to become apparent.

Though it is quickly changing, wearable devices have not yet become mainstream enough to go unnoticed, and manufacturers will have to come up with new ways to make some of the more obtrusive tech more appealing to consumers.

In July, Beecham Research highlighted the need for the fashion and technology industries to join together in order to achieve this, with fashion technology analyst Claire Duke-Wooley saying: "There is a real difference between making technology wearable versus making technology products that are desirable and genuinely engage with consumers through good design practice. The market is still wide open for trail blazing products that deliver desire, image and perceived value."

Commenting on Apple's rumoured plans for their own smart watch, the iWatch, Koytcheva added: "History shows us that when Apple enters a market it can reshape the way people think about a product."

Caroline Preece

Caroline has been writing about technology for more than a decade, switching between consumer smart home news and reviews and in-depth B2B industry coverage. In addition to her work for IT Pro and Cloud Pro, she has contributed to a number of titles including Expert Reviews, TechRadar, The Week and many more. She is currently the smart home editor across Future Publishing's homes titles.

You can get in touch with Caroline via email at caroline.preece@futurenet.com.