Wearable-device sales to grow 18.4 percent in 2016 worldwide: Gartner

New Delhi, Feb 2 (IANS) Nearly 274.6 million wearable electronic devices will be sold worldwide in 2016 — an increase of 18.4 percent from 232.0 million units in 2015 — generating a revenue of $28.7 billion, according to the world’s leading information technology research company Gartner, Inc.

Of the total revenue generated, $11.5 billion will be from smartwatches, the company said in its report “Forecast: Wearable Electronic Devices, Worldwide, 2016”.

“From 2015 through 2017, smartwatch adoption will have 48 percent growth largely due to Apple popularising wearables as a lifestyle trend. Smartwatches have the greatest revenue potential among all wearables through 2019, reaching $17.5 billion,” said Angela McIntyre, research director at Gartner.

McIntyre added that though the sales of smartwatches are the one of the strongest types of wearables, their adoption would remain much below sales of smartphones.

Fitness wearables — which include wristbands, smart garments, chest straps, sports watches and other fitness monitors — continue to increase in popularity, driven in some part by US wellness programmes.

“Of all the fitness wearables, sports watches will be the one product- category to maintain its average retail price over the next several years,” McIntyre said.

“Race runners, cyclists and divers will choose sports watches over smartwatches because the user interface, capabilities and durability are tailored to the needs of an athlete in their sport.”

The report also said that head-mounted displays (HMDs) are an emerging market with origins as expensive military projects, and in 2016 the HMD market will progress toward mainstream adoption for consumers and enterprise use.

“New virtual reality HMDs for consumers, such as the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Sony PlayStation VR, and Microsoft HoloLens are expected to be available along with video games and entertainment content as well as business applications critical for their success,” said Brian Blau, research director at Gartner.

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