Smartwatches will remain the most popular wearables into 2022

IDC reports that health monitoring will help boost smart wristwear's lead
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Smartwatches will continue to dominate wearables sales into 2022, according to a fresh report from analyst firm IDC.

Despite the expected push from categories such as hearables and smart clothing, the latest forecast from the firm indicates that global shipments of smartwatches will see it remain as the most popular wearable into the next decade. IDC's figures estimates that total wearable shipments will hit 189.9 million by 2022, rising from an expected 125.3 million in 2018.

Of the current sales, IDC reports that smartwatches make up two-thirds of the total picture, roughly translating to around 72.8 million shipped units. It also estimates that the space will grow to a whopping 120.2 million by 2022 - making it by far the leading wearable in total sales.

But who will lead the charge, according to IDC? Well, unsurprisingly, the Apple Watch is expected to hold onto its wearable crown, despite its share of the market dipping from its current mark of 44.4% to 35.8% in 2022. And despite the struggles Wear OS has endured over the past couple of years, the firm also notes that it will have a

Interestingly, IDC's Ramon Llamos suggests developments within digital health will be at the heart of continued smartwatch growth.

"Smartwatch operating systems will emphasise connection, not only between users but between wearers and other smart devices and systems. Expect further developments focusing on health with the smartwatch playing a critical role in tracking your health goals and detecting potential ailments," he said.

Whether the projections will come true, of course, is another matter. While the space will undoubtedly continue to grow, the extent of this improvement is always up for debate. The core message from IDC, though - that smartwatch sales will get stronger and continue to rise above smart earwear, clothing and other areas - is a consistent (and likely accurate) bit of forecasting.

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Conor Allison


Conor moved to Wareable Media Group in 2017, initially covering all the latest developments in smartwatches, fitness trackers, and VR. He made a name for himself writing about trying out translation earbuds on a first date and cycling with a wearable airbag, as well as covering the industry’s latest releases.

Following a stint as Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint, Conor returned to Wareable Media Group in 2022 as Editor-at-Large. Conor has become a wearables expert, and helps people get more from their wearable tech, via Wareable's considerable how-to-based guides. 

He has also contributed to British GQ, Wired, Metro, The Independent, and The Mirror. 

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