The "Internet of Things" will continue to be a major buzz word as we move through this year -- and "wearable devices" connected to the Internet seem to be at the leading edge of that phenomenon. So just how big will wearables be?
According to research firm eMarketer, which recently completed its first wearables forecast, the next several years will continue to see double-digit growth in the number of Americans using wearable devices: "In 2015, 39.5 million US adults 18 and over will use wearables, including smartwatches and fitness trackers. That's a jump of 57.7% over 2014. While penetration among US adults is just 16.0% this year, eMarketer expects that to double by 2018, to 81.7 million users."
Currently, fitness and health applications are driving the use of wearables, but the introduction of smartwatches should be responsible for expanding wearables into broader usage categories. Still, it will take some time for wearables to turn into a significant market. "Even with solid growth rates, many consumers do not always see a clear or big enough value to motivate them to buy a wearable device," reports eMarketer. "Shoppers are also price-sensitive. Because of these challenges, market penetration still remains low and will not grow as quickly as other device categories like the smartphone or tablet when they first launched. And with just 16% of Americans currently using a wearable device, advertisers have yet to fully embrace the new technology."