101 million smartwatches globally by 2020

Apple Watch and Android Wear to dominate according to new analyst forecast
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The smartwatch market is set to explode in the next five years, with a new analyst report suggesting that by 2020, one in every 20 smartphone shipments will have a smartwatch to accompany it.

That's the word from IHS Technology, who state that the current smartphone to smartwatch shipment ratio is around 500 to 1.

The analyst's forecasts would mean that, by 2020, the smartwatch market will increase from 3.6 million in 2014 to a whopping 101 million.

Essential reading: Top smartwatches for 2015

These estimates are similar to what we heard at the end of last year when Juniper Research published a report predicting that the wearable technology industry will increase from 27 million device shipments in 2014, to a whopping 116 million in 2017 and stated by the end of 2019, there will be 100 million smartwatch users worldwide.

Apple and Google domination

The IHS stats are based on booming Apple Watch sales – it states 19 million could be shifted this year alone - and also a huge uptake in Android Wear adoption: 96 million units in the next five years.

Smartwatch showdown: Apple Watch vs Android Wear

"Delivering a wide range of apps will be critical for smartwatch success," said Antonios Maroulis, analyst at IHS. "Apple's and Google's success with existing smartphone application stores will give them an invaluable head start over challengers.

"Device makers may find tactical success in the short run with proprietary OS platforms such as Pebble or niche open platforms such as Tizen which Samsung supports. But in the long term, only standard platforms that are supported by many hardware makers will deliver sufficient scale to prove attractive to app makers."

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Paul Lamkin


Wareable Media Group co-CEO Paul launched Wareable with James Stables in 2014, after working for a variety of the UK's biggest and best consumer tech publications including Pocket-lint, Forbes, Electric Pig, Tech Digest, What Laptop, T3 and has been a judge for the TechRadar Awards. 

Prior to founding Wareable, and subsequently The Ambient, he was the senior editor of MSN Tech and has written for a range of publications.

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