NEW YORK — Wearable electronic devices will sell 10 million units in 2014 and generate about $3 billion, selling more than 100 million units by 2020, according to research analyst firm Deloitte.
The devices with sales that will reach these figures include smart glasses, fitness bands, and watches. The firm also forecasts total worldwide shipments of smartphones, tablets, PCs, TV sets, and gaming consoles to surpass $750 billion in 2014 before leveling off as consumers continue to find ways to use devices for multiple purposes.
"We're seeing some good traction in wearable electronics," said Jeremie Bouchaud, principal analyst for MEMS and sensors at IHS. "As a market for itself, it's starting to get interesting."
Eric Openshaw, vice chairman of Deloitte LLP and US technology, media and telecommunications leader said in a statement that the predictions for 2014 are based on a range of issues and form factors with some commonality -- including mobile devices such as tablets, wearables, phablets, and rugged devices. "These newer technologies allow enterprises and consumers to become more connected, while opening a wealth of new business and communication opportunities," Openshaw said. "Enterprises that can capitalize on these new market segments will be well positioned for success in 2014 and beyond."
Deloitte further breaks down its figures in terms of specific segments within the overall market for wearables. Of the wearable form factors mentioned, smart glasses are expected to bring in the most revenue. They are forecast to sell about 4 million units at an average selling price (ASP) of $500. On the other hand, smart frames bands are expected to reach 4 million units in sales at an ASP of $140, while smart watches are expected to ship 2 million units at an ASP of $200.
The firm's "Technology, Media and Telecommunications Predictions" report also goes on to offer a series of similar forecasts for mobile and telecommunications devices. It sees, for instance, a “converged living room" emerging as a plateau emerges in global sales of smartphones, tablets, PCs, TV sets, and video game consoles will surpass $750 billion in 2014. That's a $50 billion increase from last year and almost a 100% increase from four years ago. That said, shipments are expected to grow at a slower pace compared to that of ten years ago, and achieve a top figure of approximately $800 billion per year.
Similarly, phablets -- smartphones with 5- to 7-inch screens -- are increasing steadily, but the report suggests that they will soon near their peak. Shipments of phablets will make up a quarter of total smartphones shipped, which is about 300 million units, twice the figure from last year and 10 times the figure from the year before that. However, beyond that first set of positive numbers, 2014 may be the year that phablets plateau, according to the report, with only some end customers interested in purchasing a device with such a large form factor.
Finally, ruggedized devices are expected to fall in price to $250. These devices are used by field force workers and involve certain tasks including highway inspections and workload-intensive outdoor activities. Generally priced at a higher figure, it is thus possible that we will see, if the report is accurate, a decline to a more reasonable price for these systems.
— Zewde Yeraswork, Associate Editor, EE Times