The latest study from market research company International Data Corporation (IDC) shows that the demand for smart wearables is expected to almost double year over year.

According to IDC’s projections, the number of wearable devices shipped to eager tech-savvy consumers is anticipated to hit 76.1 million units by the end of 2015. That represents an increase of 163.6 per cent when compared to the relatively meagre 28.9 million units shipped over 2014. And that number will spike to an impressive 173.4 million units by 2019, based on the research.

“We are at a stage now where more vendors are getting into this segment, setting the stage for more selection and ultimately more volumes,” said Ramon Llamas, research manager of wearables for IDC, in a statement. “Potential buyers wary of what is currently available will most likely be more interested once the second- and third-generation devices come to market with improved hardware and applications. From there, word-of-mouth and user-ambassadors will help to spur interest.”

Up to now, simpler wearables, like fitness trackers, have accounted for about two-thirds of this category’s market share. But the mass adoption of smart wearables is the primary factor behind this projected jump in demand. Buzz around high-tech timepieces and bands such as the Apple Watch, the Samsung Gear S series, the Motorola Moto 360 and Pebble’s Time has piques consumer interest in these more functional wearables. As such, the research firm forecasts that future iterations of these smarter wearables will feature more advanced functions rather than simply working as a smartphone accessory that primarily delivers notifications.

And IDC’s market leader forecast is also predictable — it expects Apple’s watchOS and Android/Android Wear will lead the category in the years ahead, with a declining market share for wearable pioneer Pebble as volumes grow exponentially.

“Looking ahead, customers will need to pay close attention to the different operating systems that power smart wristwear,” Llamas said. “Different smart wristwear operating systems are compatible with certain smartphone operating systems, and sometimes with specific models. Beyond that, experiences and available applications will widely vary. Just as competition exists for different smart wristwear models, this competition carries over into the operating system landscape.”

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