Over 17 million wearable bands to ship in 2014

More than 17 million wearable bands will ship this year, according to an announcement from research firm Canalys.

"2014 will be the year that wearables become a key consumer technology, as the smart band segment is estimated to reach 8 million annual shipments," Canalys estimates, with that number growing to over 23 million units by 2015, and more than 45 million by 2017. 

High-margin smart bands that incorporate sophisticated sensor technology offer enormous profit potential to vendors, argues the firm, which expects Android to enter the smart band market soon. 

"Android will be critical for developing the smart band app ecosystem, though significant changes will be required before it is suitable for wearable devices," states Canalys analyst Daniel Matte in a written statement. "Battery life and quality of sensor data will be vital metrics of success for all smart bands." 

According to the firm, 1.6 million smart bands were shipped in the second half of 2013, with Samsung accounting for the majority of smart band shipments.

When it comes to basic bands, the firm says Fitbit became the new leader of the wearable band market, following the launch of its affordable Flex and Force bands in May and October 2013, respectively. Fitbit dominated the market for basic bands, with more than 50 percent market share in the second half of the year. 

Driven by the growth of sports, fitness and health applications, 90 million wearable computing devices will be shipped in 2014, according to a recent announcement from ABI Research. Medical, wellness and sports and activity wearable devices will provide the bulk of wearable device shipments this year. The firm believes that activity trackers will continue to be the most popular wearable devices as people concerned with weight management use them to monitor their activity levels and energy output.

To learn more:
- read the announcement