Advances in affordability and design will make wearables a mainstream market in the UK this year, according to CCS Insight.
By 2020, the number of wearable devices in use in the UK will hit 33 million, up from 10 million this year, the analyst said, with fitness trackers and smartphone "companions", such as smartwatches, currently leading the way in volume and value terms, respectively.
Wearables may have been labelled one of the damp squibs of 2015, but improved designs and lower price points mean that "this year wearables have become devices that ordinary people actually want to wear", said George Jijiashvili, analyst for wearables at CCS Insight.
"Consumers in the UK have adopted wearable technology enthusiastically, particularly fitness trackers, which are becoming an increasingly commonplace accessory on people's wrists," he said.
Giving a few teasers on its recently released report on the subject, CCS Insight said it expects 1.7 million fitness trackers to be sold this year, making them the largest category by volume.
Smartwatches and other smartphone companions lead the way in value terms, however, with predicted 2016 sales of £300m. By 2020, this segment will account for 34 per cent of the market by value, with shipments growing to 3.6 million, from 1.5 million this year, CCS Insight said.
Some 800,000 virtual reality headsets will be sold in the UK this year, CCS Insight predicted.
"All eyes are on virtual reality given it's one of the hottest new technology areas to emerge this year," Jijiashvili said. "There will be a deluge of exciting 360° content widely available on Facebook and YouTube, and we're confident consumers will be keen to try it. The arrival of several 360° cameras during 2016 will further fuel the explosion of what we're calling surroundies."
Making sure people who have a wearable device don't abandon it after a few months is emerging as the "real challenge", however, Jijiashvili said.
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