Wrist power: 75% of wearables sold in 2021 will be smartwatches and smartbands

And one in three devices will be sold in China
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Wearable tech is about much more than wristwear but CCS Insight's latest forecast predicts that 140 million out of a total of 185 million wearables sold in 2021 will be smartwatches and wristbands.

Breaking down that figure, that's 86 million smartwatches and 54 wrist based bands (i.e fitness trackers). In contrast, it's predicting 11 million hearables, 8 million smart shoes and 21 million wearable cameras will be sold that year.

Read this: Is wearable tech in its boring phase? SXSW says hells no

Smart eyewear (not including VR headsets) and smart jewellery/clip-ons are predicted to only sell around two million devices each. CCS didn't give a figure for smart clothing that isn't footwear this time around but overall the figures suggest our obsession with the wrist will continue until at least 2021. The shift to ambient, invisible computing will take time.

Connected kids in China

As for smartwatches, what's interesting is that CCS is switching up its previous prediction that hybrid smartwatches would sell big. With the Apple Watch still dominating, the efforts of Fossil and friends haven't had much of an impact yet though that could change in 2017.

"We had initially anticipated that smart analogue watches would be the major source of sales volumes in the coming years," said wearables analyst George Jijiashvili, "but the watches available over the past 18 months have failed to live up to expectations.

"There's currently an air of cautious optimism among smartwatch makers, especially as sales of fitness bands appear to have stalled."

So CCS reckons that replacement buys from people who bought first-gen smartwatches and standalone devices could drive sales in the next four years.

More interesting is the estimate that one in three wearable tech devices sold in 2021 will be sold in China. It's a trend that's been bubbling up for a few years now and a huge 16 million kids watches and trackers, from Huawei, ZTE and BBK, were sold in China last year.

To put that into perspective, Apple sold around 1.1 million smartwatches in Q3 last year and 5.2 million over the holidays. And CCS sees Chinese kids watch sales jumping to as many as 25 million in 2021. See you in Shanghai.

Wrist power: 75% of wearables sold in 2021 will be smartwatches and smartbands

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Sophie was Wareable's associate editor. She joined the team from Stuff magazine where she was an in-house reviewer. For three and a half years, she tested every smartphone, tablet, and robot vacuum that mattered. 

A fan of thoughtful design, innovative apps, and that Spike Jonze film, she is currently wondering how many fitness tracker reviews it will take to get her fit. Current bet: 19.

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She now works for Wired.

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