Wearables market shows huge increase, Apple Watch will be measuring stick

Good news for wearables companies worldwide: Market trends demonstrate a growing interest in and opportunity for the wearable tech industry.

In a report published on Wednesday, the International Data Corporation (IDC) revealed that vendors shipped a total of 11.4 million wearable devices in the first quarter of 2015 — a staggering number when compared to the 3.8 million wearable devices shipped in the first quarter of 2014. That’s an impressive 200 percent increase.

IDC Research manager Ramon Llamas says that bucking the post-holiday decline usually associated with the first quarter of the year is a strong indicator for the wearables market’s future success. “It demonstrates growing end-user interest and the vendors’ ability to deliver a diversity of devices and experiences,” he writes. “In addition, demand from emerging markets is on the rise and vendors are eager to meet these new opportunities.”

Now that the Apple Watch is on the market and available for in-store purchase in the United States in just two weeks, IDC anticipates its presence will become a sort of market barometer. “The Apple Watch will likely become the device that other wearables will be measured against, fairly or not,” Llamas said. “This will force the competition to up their game in order to stay on the leading edge of the market.”

The Apple Watch is soon to get into the hands of more consumers when it becomes available for in-store purchase in seven additional countries (Italy, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland and Taiwan) on June 26. IDC’s findings support the entrance into emerging markets, stating, “[D]emand [for wearables] from emerging markets is on the rise and vendors are eager to meet these new opportunities.”

IDC ranked the top first quarter wearables vendors as (in descending order) Fitbit, Xiaomi, Garmin, Samsung, and Jawbone, with the currently feuding Jawbone and Fitbit showing the strongest year-over-year growth. 

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