Of all wearable devices, smart watches seem to be the ones that are gradually taking hold in the market. They won’t replace smartphones just yet, but will likely act as a complement to those mobile devices.

Global market for smart watches set to skyrocket in 2014


The ‘wearable devices’ market has been experiencing a massive boom in recent months. Nike and Jawbone each have connected bracelets out on the market, Google has developed a smart glasses prototype which will soon be available to the general public, and Sony, Samsung, and Apple are all betting on smart watches. The concept of ‘wearable devices’ can take various forms, from a simple bracelet to larger items such as connected clothing. However, it seems that the watch format holds special appeal for today’s consumers, as indicated recently by a study from Forrester. Now independent analyst firm Canalys has just published its own study on the smart watch market, which predicts that the market is set to really take off next year.

Explosion in the watch market

Canalys predicts a 900% increase in sales of smart watches in 2014 over 2013. According to the report, 330,000 smart watches were sold in 2012, the majority made by Sony and Motorola. This figure will rise to 500,000 in 2013, due to the Sony and Pebble Technology watches, and will increase further to 5 million in 2014, it forecasts. This growth can be explained largely by the market entry of the technology giants, especially Apple, Google, Microsoft and Samsung. Canalys Vice President Chris Jones believes that “smart watches will be the most important new product category in consumer electronics.”

What impact on smartphones?

With the smart watch market about to hit new highs, the big question is what impact this will have on mobile phone sales. Canalys analysts believe however that these new gadgets are not yet at the point where they can expect to replace our smartphones, but will rather complement them, acting as what they call ‘appcessories’. During the annual MobileBeat conference, held on July 9-10 in San Francisco, Romain Nervil, Head of Events Content at leading tech media and conference organiser VentureBeat, expressed the same view: “Wearable devices will not replace the smartphone; they’ll make it evolve further,” he predicted, adding: “The smartphone will sit somewhere between the wearable device and the web. It’s a very mature technology with huge computing power and strong Internet connectivity, enabling it to gather data from wearable devices and then communicate with the server.” 

By Alice Gillet
English editorial manager