The worldwide market for so-called wearable tech is already growing well and looks likely to exceed $8bn (£4.9bn) this year, according to specialist market research firm Futuresource.
Oliver Rowntree, research analyst at Futuresource, said people are buying a range of items including wireless gadgets, 'smart' watches, activity trackers, wearable GPS, heart-rate monitors and 'smart' glasses.
"Fitness devices are by far the most mature market, making up 97 per cent of the projected value in 2013 – though this will fall dramatically as smartwatch and smartglass categories develop and products ship with embedded sensors that track and analyse movements and activity, cannibalising some of the functionality of dedicated fitness products," Rowntree said.
"The connected watch category will be the most significant growth area within wearable technology over the forecast period, and Futuresource projects a combined wireless watch and smartwatch market of around 900,000 units in 2013, with more than 60 per cent of this accounted for by smartwatches."
Growth in this market would be rapid, he said, with many wearable devices complementing other gadgets such as smartphones. Smartwatch sales would be driven up, meanwhile, as more vendors enter the market, including Apple and LG as well as watch companies looking to add features to their products.
When it comes to the smartglasses segment, though, not a lot will happen until 2014 when Google's hyped Google Glass device is released, the analyst noted.
Futuresource predicts that 2014 will see "less than one million" smartglasses sold, expanding to tip seven million by 2017, worth about $2bn – if "key CE brands" enter the market by 2015, that is.
Uptake will initially be limited to a fairly niche, tech-savvy portion of consumers, Futuresource believes.
"One significant question with smartglasses is the degree of autonomy the devices will have, whether they will be devices that are paired with another or whether they will be stand-alone," Rowntree said.
"Furthermore, unless wearable devices develop to fulfil much of the function of other devices such as smartphones, uptake will be more limited in emerging markets. As with specialist fitness wearables, without the functionality of smartphones they are relatively niche, luxury products."
Wearable tech sales overall will reach around $20bn by 2017, Futuresource figures suggest.
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