Wearable sales in the UK set to hit 5 million in 2016

Fitness trackers still leading the charge
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We know wearables is big business and in the UK, it looks like sales of fitness trackers, smartwatches and VR headsets are going to grow in a big way.

That's according to research firm CCS Insight who revealed in its latest Market Forecast report that we can expect UK wearable sales to hit 5 million with 10 million devices to be in use before the end of the year. It also predicts that number is to triple over the next four years to almost 33 million units sold breaking the £1 billion barrier by 2020.

Essential reading: How to use your fitness tracker to actually get fit

Fitness trackers still provides the biggest sales volume with 1.7 million expected to be sold this year. We wouldn't be at all surprised if that's largely made up of a fair few Fitbits. But let's not forget about smartwatches or 'smartphone companions' like the Apple Watch, which the firm believes will be worth almost £300 million in 2016.

George Jijiashvili, an analyst at CCS Insight explains why he expects to see an increase in the wearable sales. "Advances in design and affordability mean that this year wearables have become devices that ordinary people actually want to wear. Consumers in the UK have adopted wearable technology enthusiastically, particularly fitness trackers, which are becoming an increasingly commonplace accessory on people's wrists."

Away from the wrist, virtual reality and augmented reality headsets will also play their part in the surge of wearable sales. CCS Insight expects around 800,000 VR headsets to be sold in the UK this year. Smartphone-based headsets will make up the majority of those sales. Google has now also started to sell its official Cardboard headset in the UK Google Play Store, which will no doubt give sales of budget VR headsets a boost.

It's no surprise to hear the top end VR headsets like the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Sony PlayStation VR, which doesn't land until later this year, will only make up a small, but important niche.

In the wearable camera department, CCS Insight expects 1.4 million units to be sold in 2020. More interestingly, it predicts that 13% of those units sold will be cellular enabled prompting mobile network operators to sell them through subscription data services.

Wearable sales in the UK set to hit 5 million in 2016

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Michael Sawh


Michael Sawh has been covering the wearable tech industry since the very first Fitbit landed back in 2011. Previously the resident wearable tech expert at Trusted Reviews, he also marshaled the features section of T3.com.

He also regularly contributed to T3 magazine when they needed someone to talk about fitness trackers, running watches, headphones, tablets, and phones.

Michael writes for GQ, Wired, Coach Mag, Metro, MSN, BBC Focus, Stuff, TechRadar and has made several appearances on the BBC Travel Show to talk all things tech. 

Michael is a lover of all things sports and fitness-tech related, clocking up over 15 marathons and has put in serious hours in the pool all in the name of testing every fitness wearable going. Expect to see him with a minimum of two wearables at any given time.

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