As smart, wearable devices become more and more prominent in the form of watches, fitness trackers, hearables and even smart clothing it’s looking likely that they will be one of the bright sparks of the tech industry in the coming years. Shipments of wearables like Fitbit trackers and Samsung Tizen smartwatches jumped almost 9% in 2018 to an impressive 125.3 million devices, according to an IDC report, which also predicts the market will grow by an annual average of 11% to reach 189.9 million devices in 2022.

What’s behind the growth of wearables?

There are two major trends that are driving this growth. A broadening interest in increasingly more capable smartwatches is galvanising that particular segment and consumer interest in developing markets is fuelling the sales of lower-priced devices. So it is not just mature markets that are set to contribute to the rise of smart wearables; emerging markets in Asia and Africa, for example, are also important, and japan’s role is likely to be pivotal as they consume more than 1/3 of all the world’s smart wearables.

A turning point for the tech industry

Sales growth of both smartphones and personal computers has slowed considerably in recent years, so this expansion of wearables comes at a critical time for both the tech hardware industry and the digital infrastructure that delivers it. The global smartphone market reached a saturation point in 2018 as sales declined for the first time ever, while PC and tablet sales have been declining for years now, with no improvement in sight.

Viewing the situation on a company basis, Apple is expected to remain at the top of the pile when it comes to wearables, with a market share of nearly 36% in 2022 according to the IDC predictions. Android, owned and powered by Google, will be in second place with a 22% share as it is used by most Chinese manufacturers. Meanwhile, Google’s more proprietary WearOS software will come in at third position with a share of 20%. The other prominent players in the industry will be Samsung, Fitbit and Garmin as the wearables industry continues to grow and outperform other sectors in the tech hardware industry.