While it may yet come down to Earth, with the success of the Apple Watch, IDC sees continued strength for worldwide wearables shipments over the next five years.

With new vendors including Apple, entering the wearables market, market research firm IDC Corp. has revised its worldwide wearable shipments forecast upwards. IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker is now forecasting shipments of 72.1 million units in 2015, up by 173.3 per cent from the 26.4 million units shipped in 2014. Looking ahead, IDC is forecasting a compound annual growth rate of 42.6 per cent through 2019, when shipments of 155.7 million units are forecast.

“The demand for basic wearables, those that do not run third party apps, has been absolutely astounding,” said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst, Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers with IDC, in a statement. “Vendors like Fitbit and Xiaomi have helped propel the market with their sub-$100 bands, and IDC expects this momentum will continue throughout 2015.”

Ubrani said IDC expects smart wearables capable of running third party apps to take the lead in 2016.

“Smart wearables like the Apple Watch and Micosoft’s Hololens are indicative of an upcoming change in computing, and the transition from basic to smart wearables opens up a slew of opportunities for vendors, app developers, and accessory makers,” said Ubrani.

While wristwear dominated wearable shipments and is expected to continue to do so through the forecast period, eyewear and clothing wearables are expected to have some momentum by 2019.

“Growth in the smart wearables market points to an emerging battleground among competing platforms,” said Ramon Llamas, research manager for wearables with IDC, in a statement. “Android Wear, Tizen, and WatchOS are moving ahead with improved user interfaces, user experiences, and applications. These will raise the expectations of what a smart wearable can do, and each platform is vying for best-in-class status. We’re not there yet, but we’re seeing the building blocks of what is to come.”

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