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Wearables shipments tipped to nudge 560 million units this year

New data from a leading market intelligence firm suggests the wearables sector will grow by more than 10% in 2024

Wearables shipments are forecast to reach 559.7 million units in 2024, a leading global analyst firm has predicted.

IDC said it expects the worldwide market to increase by 10.5% this year as demand picks up on the back of better economic conditions.

The growth will set the tone for what is to come in the years ahead, with IDC projecting that the market will reach 645.7 million units by the end of 2028 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.6%.

The latest forecasts come after IDC released new data from its Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker showing that the wearable devices market declined 0.9% year over year in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Despite improved economic conditions, mature markets such as United States, Western Europe, and Japan recorded declines in 4Q23 due to muted demand, tough comparisons against last year, and inventory hangover from prior quarters.

However, shipments grew 1.7% in Asia/Pacific and in China largely due to strong interest in emerging markets.

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Ramon Llamas, research director with IDC’s Wearables team, said: “The high-water mark for wearables came in 2020 and 2021 with volumes reaching record levels. The next two years saw the aftermath of that success as demand began to wane and shipments steadily declined.

“2024 will be the start of the rebound as users will look for replacements and new models from key vendors launch during the second half of this year. This will carry into 2025 and beyond.”

While the market declined slightly in 4Q23, global shipments of wearable devices managed to grow 1.7% for the full year 2023.

Among the various device types, hearables declined 0.8% year over year for the full year while capturing 61.3% of the overall wearables market.

The slow pace of innovation and fast pace of adoption has quickly led to the category relying more on replacements rather than new buyers.

Meanwhile, smartwatches continued their growth trajectory as shipments increased 8.7% during the year as India and China led the market both in terms of vendors and consumption.

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