Health and fitness wearable computing devices will be a main driver of the 90 million wearable devices that are expected to ship in 2014, according to a report from ABI research.
Shipment estimates for healthcare wearables are approximately 13 million in 2013, 22 million in 2014, and 34 million in 2015 whereas health and fitness wearable shipments are 32 million in 2013, 42 million in 2014, and 57 million in 2015.
ABI also included smart clothing as a category. Projected smart clothing shipments were 30,000 in 2013, and will be 720,000 in 2014 and 1 million in 2015.
ABI senior analyst Joshua Flood believes the next year will be a "critical period" for adoption and acceptance of wearable devices.
"Healthcare and sports and activity trackers are rapidly becoming mass-market products," Flood said in a statement. "On the flipside, wearable devices like smart watches need to overcome some critical obstacles. Aesthetic design, more compelling use cases, battery life and lower price points are the main inhibitors. How vendors approach these challenges and their respective solutions will affect the wearable market far in the future.”
So far this year, as the report predicts, there have been many wearable trackers on the market that are tackling the obstacles ABI lists. In 2013, many wearables came out with design-friendly products, some trackers including Fitbug Orb launched with lower price points and more audience-specific wearable trackers such as Push armband looked to crowdfunding sites to find niche audiences.
As for smart glasses, ABI predicts the market, which saw 10,000 shipments in 2013, will see 2 million shipments in 2014 and 10 million in 2015. The report says smart glasses could be the starting point for a move away from today touchscreen smartphones, but voice interface, pricing, battery life and style will all play crucial roles in the success of the market. Because of this need for refinement, ABI said the enterprise sector will be the early target for smart glasses.
In 2011, ABI predicted that 80 million wearable wireless fitness sensors would ship by 2016. A year later, ABI predicted 170 million wearable wireless health and fitness devices would ship by 2017, which would be a 100 percent jump.