IDC Predicts Wearable Computer Market Will Grow To 112 Million Devices In 2018

From the vantage point of International Data Corporation (IDC), the wearable computing market is extending beyond early adopters and getting ready to hit its stride. More stylish and and functional accessories are being featured in magazines like GQ and Shape, which is indicative of growing interest beyond just geek circles.

IDC says wearables "took a huge step forward" last year, and based in part on the momentum the category has built up, the market research firm believes shipment volumes will exceed 19 million units in 2014, more than tripling last year's volume.

Image Source: Flickr (Karlis Dambrans)

That would be impressive, but also only the tip of the iceberg. IDC believes the wearable computing market will see explosive growth over the next several years, swelling all the way up to 111.9 million units in 2018. Simple to use and relatively affordable devices like the Nike+ Fuelband, Jawbone UP, and Fitbit will fuel this projected growth.

"Complex accessories have succeeded in drawing much-needed interest and attention to a wearables market that has had some difficulty gaining traction," said Ramon Llamas, Research Manager, Mobile Phones. "The increased buzz has prompted more vendors to announce their intentions to enter this market. Most importantly, end-users have warmed to their simplicity in terms of design and functionality, making their value easy to understand and use."

The market certainly has potential now that Google is throwing its weight behind smartwatches with its Android Wear platform. Google is also expected to make available its Glass wearable to the general public sometime this year, following a one-day roll out on April 15.