Wearable device market to reach $1.5B by 2014

The market for next-generation wearable devices, including smart glasses and other head-mounted displays, will be worth more than $1.5 billion by 2014, up from just $800 million this year, according to a new report from Juniper Research. Driven by consumer spending on fitness, multi-functional devices, and healthcare, Juniper believes 2014 will be a "watershed year" for wearable devices in terms of roll outs and market traction.

The report argues that the rapid growth in sensors, component and system integration, along with next generation wireless technologies and mobile devices has driven the market for wearable devices.

Big technology players like Apple and Google already have made key strategic moves in this sector, as the report points out. In addition, the use of wearable devices connected to the smartphone in the fitness and sports environment has grown rapidly in the last two years with applications such as Nike+ and Fitbit Tracker allowing data from training sessions to be uploaded and analyzed.

According to the report, as a "future form factor" for computing devices, next-generation wearables will provide a multitude of functions either independently or in conjunction with a third party platform.

"With consumers embracing new technologies and form factors, wearable devices ranging from fitness accessories to heads-up displays will be more prevalent in the consumer market," Nitin Bhas, the report's author, said in a statement. "While fitness and entertainment will have the greatest demand from consumers, within an enterprise environment, the demand for wearable devices will be greatest from the aviation and warehouse sectors."

Despite the fact that the number of fitness and sports devices bought per year is higher than the number of healthcare devices sold, the health sector will be slightly larger in terms of retail value, according to the Juniper report.

An IMS Research report from August predicts that the global market for wearable technology will reach $6 billion by 2016.

To learn more:
- here's the Juniper Research announcement