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Wrist-worn wearables on the rise, tipped to achieve 195 million shipments by year end

Wrist-worn wearables continue to capture the attention of consumers, despite a raft of unfavourable market conditions. That’s according to a newly released report from Futuresource Consulting, which reveals the market will grow by 7.2% in 2023, to achieve 195 million shipments. 

“We’re seeing some notable changes taking place across the wearables landscape,” says Nikolaos Tzoumerkas, Market Analyst, Futuresource Consulting, “and the market is being held back on three fronts. There’s a general lack of innovation on the wrist, pressure from the cost-of-living crisis, and ongoing conflicts in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Yet all this downward pressure is doing little to slow market momentum, and the sector will continue to maintain a healthy growth trajectory.” 

Smartwatches take pole position

According to the report, smartwatches command the lion’s share of the wearables market, accounting for 41% of overall shipments. Sports watches take second position, with activity trackers and kids watches currently vying for third place. 

“As the market expands, the line between sports watches and smart watches is becoming blurred,” says Tzoumerkas. “Players are introducing interchangeable features in their product lines, and we expect to see the two segments merge into a single unified hybrid category.  

“Drilling deeper into the smaller categories, we’re also seeing a burst of activity in elderly watches. Our forecasts show shipment gains of 77% in 2023, driven by the exposure provided by telecom companies as they push these devices through the channel.” 

Big brands battle it out

At the brand level, Futuresource expects most large vendors to shed market share. Apple is on track to lose around five percentage points, but will retain its position as the largest wearables brand by a wide margin, followed by Huawei, which continues to exceed expectations in the domestic market. 

New form factors coming into play

Beyond the wrist, smart rings are moving towards the mainstream, offering some similar functionalities to those of wrist-worn devices. Oura Ring 3 and RingConn are currently the two main brands, though Samsung’s potential entry with Galaxy Ring is likely to open up the category to a wider audience. However, smart rings remains a nascent segment, and Futuresource estimates global shipments to achieve less than 500,000 units in 2023. 

Other form factors, such as necklaces, bracelets and smart helmets also exist, though Futuresource notes that these are targeted at users for niche use cases. 

A positive future for wrist-worn wearables

“Looking to the future of wrist-worn wearables, our forecasts point to a volume CAGR of more than 15% between 2023 and 2027, achieving 344 million shipments worldwide,” says Tzoumerkas. “As prices fall and wearables become a part of wider connected ecosystems, volumes will accelerate and the overall value of the market will increase rapidly.” 

For more information on Futuresource Consulting’s global wearables report, or to make a purchase, please contact

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Nikolaos Tzoumerkas

About the author

Nikolaos Tzoumerkas

Nikolaos Tzoumerkas is a Market Analyst in the Consumer Electronics team at Futuresource Consulting. Having joined in January of 2023, his main research focus includes the segments of wearables, where he tracks smartwatches and sports watches among others, and XR where he tracks all the major types of hardware technology. Nikolaos has also worked on tablets and smartphones giving him a holistic overview of the personal electronics sector.

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