Gartner Inc. forecasts worldwide shipments of wearable devices to reach 225 million in 2019. Advanced ear-worn devices can reduce smartphone use in the future

The worldwide shipments of wearable devices is expected to reach 225 million in 2019. Gartner also forecasts that the end-user spending on wearable devices will reach $42 billion in 2019. A majority of that, $16.2 billion, may be spent on smartwatches.

Alan Antin, senior director at Gartner, said, “At the moment, the smartwatch market is bolstered by the relatively stable and higher average selling price (ASP) of the Apple Watch. But the overall ASP of smartwatches is expected to slowly decline from $221.99 in 2018 to $210 in 2022, due to lower-priced competitors and as higher volumes lead to reductions in manufacturing and component costs, while strong brands like Apple and traditional watch brands try to keep pricing stable.”

Smart watches can be the top selling smart wear segment in 2019

The “Forecast: Wearable Electronic Devices, Worldwide, 2018” report expects 74 million smartwatches to be shipped in 2019, a figure that can make smartwatches the top category in all wearable device forms. Gartner expects that the smartwatch shipments in 2022 will reach a staggering 115 million.

Antin continued, “We think that fashion and traditional watch brands are likely to account for up to 20 percent of unit shipments by 2022. Traditional watch brands such as Fossil and Casio will gain market share by offering more style and choice in their portfolio than the technology brands.”

The smartwatch segment in future may subdivide into four provider types namely – ‘leading consumer electronics brands’, ‘fashion and traditional watch brands’, ‘children’s watches’ and ‘special-purpose brands and start-ups’ serving niche audiences such as people with medical issues that need to be monitored.

Few brands catering to the niche have already created comfortable leads, however, other brands are also gearing up for the wearable devices wars. Oppo had recently shared it’s eagerness to develop smart wearable devices including smartwatches. The China based company has dedicated a large amount to be spent on R&D during 2019.

Ear-Worn devices’ shipments to take lead by 2022

The forecast report expects that by 2022, ear-worn devices’ will replace smartwatches’ in terms of highest smart device shipments. Ear-worn devices shipments may amount to 158 million units which is 43 million more units than the expected 115 million smartwatch shipments expected in 2022.

Expansion of capabilities beyond entertainment and communication is expected to help ear-worn devices including Apple AirPods, Samsung’s IconX and Plantronics’ BackBeat FIT, in accounting for more than 30 percent of all shipped wearable devices.

The official statement explained, “Future generations of ear-worn devices will be able to accommodate virtual personal assistants and subsequently be used for a multitude of tasks such as queries and hands-free directions. Moving forward, advanced ear-worn devices can reduce smartphone use, as they will take over many tasks that users solve with the help of their smartphones today.”

Interestingly Zebronics has already launched Zeb-Peace earphones in India. The brand claims these headphones support virtual assistants for android as well as iOS devices.

Gartner also expects head-mounted displays to get expensive by 19.2 percent until 2022. Antin explained, “Contrary to what we see in other segments, the ASP for head-mounted displays will increase by 19.2 percent until 2022, as better content demands better technology.”