There’s been a lot of talk recently – most notably at places like this site – with people suggesting that the wearable market is going to explode over the next few years, with over a hundred million of the devices out in the wild by 2016. That’s not close to rivalling the mobile sector, but could see it become the new tech-du-jour in the same vein as netbooks and tablets before long. However, not everyone is so convinced that wearables can dominate, with one research group thinking it may peak within the next year or so.
NPD believes that with so many manufacturers trying to get in on the rapidly expanding wearables scene, that it will lead to rapid price wars in the coming months. This, it said, could ultimately mean that Chinese alternatives become more common place and as quality slides, people will become less interested in the tech as a whole.
It did admit that the advantages in the fitness and healthcare world, would likely see wearables hang around for some time to come, offering valuable insights into patients in hospitals and those working out or training for a sport. In general though, it believes that a smartwatch isn’t going to take over from your smartphone any time soon.
However NPD wasn’t all doom and gloom. It looked at several potential scenarios from the future, only one of which was a major death of the technology. In other branches of its potential futures, NPD postulated that the growth of the market could stall if China considers them unfashionable. The look of a tech product is already important, but when you have to wear it, that’s double so. With that in mind, if China, one of the world’s biggest tech markets, considers wearables as a bit of a fashion faux pas, instead of the next great thing, then the market could see some real contraction.
In the US though, NPD believes wearables will continue to grow for some time to come, since chances are they’ll come bundled with services and ongoing subscriptions. These systems will mean people stay comitted to the new tech for longer than they will elsewhere. That’s not guaranteed of course, as can be seen by the poor continuation numbers of those that bought smartwatches and fitness bands last year, only small percentages are still using them today.
What do you guys think the immediate future of wearables will be? Obviously we see something quite bright for our wristbands and headsets, but clearly not everyone else has the same pair of glasses on as we do.[Thanks PCWorld]