Tech Trends

Wearable Devices Expected to Increase over the Next 5 Years

Smart watches, smart earwear, and other wearables are expected to rebound this year after the wearable tech category experienced its first decline in 2022. The comeback in 2023 is expected to be modest, with greater growth through 2027, according to a new report.

According to a forecast from International Data Corp., 504.1 million wearables will ship in 2023 worldwide, an increase of 2.4% from the previous year. That growth will be driven by demand for the two most popular wearable categories — earwear and smart watches.

"Earwear will remain the largest product category throughout the forecast as new users seek out their first set and current users upgrade from devices purchased in 2020 and 2021, when earwear shipments reached their peak," according to IDC. "Smartwatches will experience market-beating growth as users transition from wristbands to smartwatches and, in some cases, from basic smartwatches to advanced smartwatches. Despite downward pressure from smartwatches, wristbands are not expected to disappear from the market as these devices will continue to appeal to users seeking simpler solutions. Meanwhile, all other wearable categories – including clothing, rings, glasses that do not feature augmented or virtual reality, and others – will trend up and to the right albeit from a much smaller base."

Earwear, which makes up 62.1% of the market, will see compound annual growth rate of 4.9% from 2023 to 2027, increasing from 313 million units in 2023 to 390.6 million in 2027. Smart watches, which make up 31.2% of the market in 2023, will grow 6.8% in the same period, from 157.3 million in 2023 to 206.2 in 2027. Wristbands will decrease 3% in that same period. All other wearables will see a combined increase of 8.4%.

"Despite the ongoing challenges in the macroeconomy, demand for wearables will push the market back into growth mode," said Ramon T. Llamas, research director with IDC's Wearables team, in a prepared statement. "We still anticipate new devices to come out later this year and these will coincide with replacement purchases for those who acquired a new device several years ago. This sets up a virtuous cycle for future purchases in the coming years resulting in continued growth for the overall market."

Further information can be found in IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at .