#2 Defining wearables
2015 Predictions Update
AcceleratingBiz Team, January 3, 2016

2015 was predicted to be a big year for wearables, with a growing number of offerings and applications propelling the category into the mainstream, thus achieving the number two spot on our 2015 Predictions list. As consumers got more comfortable with wearing fitness bands, watches, smart clothing, and other intelligent devices, 2015 saw strong sales in wearables, a growing number of product options, and increasing interest from enterprises.

Though the dust from the holiday season is still settling, we already know that 2015 was an excellent year for wearables. Global sales surged, with IDC reporting third quarter device shipments of 21.0 million, almost triple the 7.1 million shipped during the same period in 2014. Much of this growth was with devices focusing on health and fitness monitoring, a closely related trend we profiled as our #10 prediction. Among U.S. adults, market penetration for wearables grew to approximately 16.0% in 2015, up from 10.2% in 2014, and is expected to reach 33.6% by 2019. While nowhere near the penetration rates of smartphones, wearables are now mainstream enough to begin attracting attention from advertisers eager to find new ways to reach consumers.

AcceleratingBiz Question How might your customers’ behaviors change with the proliferation of connected, intelligent wearable devices?

The Apple Watch, expected by many to be the inflection point that took the wearable market from niche to mainstream, has failed so far to capture as much momentum as many pundits expected. The release of Apple Watch iOS 2.0, which allows for native application support and better user experiences, may help boost sales over the next several quarters. Despite Apple Watch’s somewhat lackluster 2015, at least by Apple’s standards, it has moved into second place in wearables market share, behind Fitbit and ahead of Xiaomi, Garmin, XTC (a Chinese vendor), and Samsung. With companies continuing to pump out new devices, the wearables market remains fragmented, and a truly dominant provider, device, or application has yet to surface.

AcceleratingBiz Question What kinds of wearable technologies might your customers adopt in the next 1-3 years?

2015 might be looked back on as a year of transition and experimentation in wearables that laid the groundwork for future innovation. While no killer app has emerged, the growing number of individuals and companies experimenting with wearables has created a plethora of opportunities. More than 70 Fortune 500 companies, including Target, Bank of America, and Time Warner distribute Fitbits to their employees as part of an employee wellness program. We expect many more companies to adopt the same strategy, seeking to capitalize both on increased productivity and the ability to gather valuable data about their team members.

AcceleratingBiz Question What wearables data can you collect from your customers or employees that has the potential to change your business?

What are your thoughts?

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