​The wearable tech hype is over – but reality looks bright for the big brands

Fitness trackers, smartwatches and connected tech are outgrowing "wearable tech"
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The hype surrounding wearables is diminishing, which may be good news for the industry – that's the findings of a new report by IDTechEx, which predicts a strong future for smart tech.

The report breaks its predictions for the market into stages, and while it points to a steady 10% growth to $40 billion in 2018, IDTechEx then expects a surge in popularity of wearables with 23% growth swelling the market to an enormous $100 billion in 2023.

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It should be noted that IDTechEx lumps regular headphones and the like in with our definition of wearable tech, which would explain the bigger numbers compared to similar reports.

The report also points to reduced hype around "wearables" in general, as fitness trackers, smartwatches, smartglasses and connected clothing outgrow the catch-all term to become popular categories in their own right.

"The fickle nature of hype is beginning to show, and many companies are now progressing beyond discussing "wearables" to focus on the detailed and varied sub-sectors," said the report.

​The wearable tech hype is over – but reality looks bright for the big brands

The wearable tech market had been "fuelled by a frenzy of hype, funding and global interest," it continued, and "wearable technology was catapulted to the top of the agenda for companies spanning the entire value chain and world. This investment manifested in hundreds of new products and extensive tailored R&D investigating relevant technology areas."

At Wareable we've often pointed to the need for wearables to cut the umbilical chord from smartphones, and that sentiment has been echoed by the IDTechEx report:

"Today, most smartwatches and many fitness trackers still rely, at least partially, on a connection to a smartphone hub. The ubiquity of the smartphone as a central platform has been a key enabler for growth in wearables so far, but all of the largest manufacturers now look to a future, where the hub itself may become wearable."

​The wearable tech hype is over – but reality looks bright for the big brands

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James Stables


James is the co-founder of Wareable, and he has been a technology journalist for 15 years.

He started his career at Future Publishing, James became the features editor of T3 Magazine and T3.com and was a regular contributor to TechRadar – before leaving Future Publishing to found Wareable in 2014.

James has been at the helm of Wareable since 2014 and has become one of the leading experts in wearable technologies globally. He has reviewed, tested, and covered pretty much every wearable on the market, and is passionate about the evolving industry, and wearables helping people achieve healthier and happier lives.

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