The Middle East and Africa (MEA) wearables market continued to see steady growth in Q3 2016, according to the latest insights from International Data Corporation (IDC). The global ICT research and consulting services firm says the Middle East and Africa (MEA) wearables market grew 38.3% year on year in Q3 2016 to total approximately 487,000 units. The growth is being driven by low-cost basic wearables (i.e., devices that do not support third-party applications), which grew 55.9% year on year, while shipments of smart wearables (i.e., devices that do support third-party applications) increased 4.1% over the same period.
“Buyers for smart wearables are limited as the main application for these devices is fitness, which is an area that basic wearables also cater for at a much lower cost,” says Nakul Dogra, a senior research analyst for personal computing, systems, and infrastructure solutions at IDC MEA. “Basic wearables continue to experience higher uptake as their already-low prices are declining further still in a bid to drive differentiation, since there is little to separate the offerings in terms of functionality.”
IDC expects the MEA wearables market to total 1.96 million units for 2016 as a whole, which represents an increase of 38.4% on 2015. Looking ahead, the market is tipped to grow a further 22.6% in 2017 to reach 2.4 million units for the year. The uptake of wearables has been relatively slow in MEA when compared to other regions, so there is still plenty of room for adoption and continued steady growth over the coming years. New product launches in the earwear and clothing categories will also fuel further growth.
“Value-seeking buyers need to trigger the next wave of growth for wearables, and vendors need to come up with innovative products and applications in order to spur purchases of these gadgets,” says Dogra. “The focus of vendors should be on developing new applications and finding new ways to make use of the existing data captured by wearables so as to enable day-to-day tasks to be performed much easier. There should also be efforts to create an ecosystem of gadgets so that these devices can interact with each other and freely exchange information.”
There are already signs of some consolidation taking place in the industry, both in terms of vendors and operating systems. with Fitbit’s buyout of Pebble representing a clear step in this direction. Indeed, these are exciting times for the wearables market, with niche and mass-market introductions set to change the way we interact with technology in our day-to-day lives. To keep pace with the changes taking place in this fast-moving market, IDC has launched its Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, which assists vendors that are looking to enter this market, promote new product developments, or accelerate the growth of their wearables divisions.
The tracker includes details on products, vendors, and technology trends at both global and country levels, as well as historical market data and five-year forecasts. The report also provides valuable insights into the adoption of core wearable features, such as form factor, connectivity, sensors, operating systems, and applications, and offers invaluable assistance to tech firms looking to develop successful long-term business strategies for wearable devices.