We’re often asked about the latest market projections for wearables. Even for people like us at Valencell who live and breathe biometric wearables every day, it’s difficult to keep up with the growth in the market and the growth in the projections for the market. While we don’t claim to have all the data from every industry analyst producing estimates on the wearables market, there have been a few recent updates to some of the prominent analyst firms estimates (IDC, Gartner, and CCS Insight), so it’s worth doing a quick summary.

As you’ll see there’s a wide range of estimates, but that’s primarily due to ambiguity around what’s included and not included in the different estimates. For example, IDC’s data defines the product categories as “Basic Wearable and Smart Wearable”, which includes the following products: “Clothing, Earwear, Eyewear, Modular Wristwear, and Others”. However, Gartner’s estimates include the following products: “smartwatch, head-mounted display, body-worn camera, BlueTooth headset, wristband, smart garment, chest strap, sports watch, other fitness monitor”. And finally, CCS Insight includes: “fitness/activity/sports trackers, wearables cameras, virtual and augmented reality headsets, smartwatches and smartphone companions”.

Clear as mud?

It’s important to note that the IDC data reports on actuals, while the CCS Insight data is a future projection, and the Gartner data shows actuals for 2015 and projections through 2017. With that said, the numbers continue to show massive growth in the wearables space with little expectation of a slow down. IDC reports 27.4M units (126.9% CAGR) in 4Q15 and 78.1M units (171.6% CAGR) for the full year 2015.

Top 5 wearable vendors, shipments, marketshare and Year over Year Growth - IDC market data 4Q15

Top 5 Wearable vendors, shipments, market share and YoY growth - IDC Market data YE15

Meanwhile, Gartner reports a much larger number for 2015, because they include more device categories in their estimates. Gartner is reporting 232.01M units sold in 2015 for a total of $28.7B. They also expect 2016 unit sales of 274.59 and 2017 unit sales of 322.69M units (39% growth over 2015).

Gartner wearable market data 2015-2017

CCS Insight on the other hand is projecting 2016 123M units totaling $14B in revenue, growing to 411M units, and $34B in market size by 2020. CCS also has a nice infographic showing breakdowns of the market on volume and value by the different form factors they track – hearables, wristbands, watches, etc.

CCS WW wearables forecast 2016-2020

So apparently everyone agrees the market is growing rapidly, but not on how much or how fast. Only time will tell.