IDC's latest wearables report suggests that devices such as fitness trackers and smartwatches will reach 125.5 million units by the end of this year, representing 20 percent growth over 2016. The research firm expects wearables shipments to more than double by 2021, reaching 240 million units.
The wearables market is still dominated by watches and wristbands, but more form factors have emerged in the category, including earwear and connected clothing. The addition of these devices has helped bolster the wearables segment overall, especially as compared to the consolidating smartphone segment.
As the wearables space matures, IDC expects to see significant advances in devices, including digital assistants, cellular connectivity, and connections to larger systems, both at home and at work.
"It's not just the end users who will benefit from these advanced devices," said Senior Research Analyst Jitesh Ubrani in a statement. "Opportunities also exist for developers and channel partners to provide the apps, services, and distribution that will support the growing abundance of wearables. From a deployment perspective, the commercial segment also stands to benefit as wearables enable productivity, lower costs, and increase ROI in the long term."