IDC: Wearable sales to hit 72m units this year as Apple Watch, smartwatches close gap on ‘basic wearables’


Following the launch of the Apple Watch in April, IDC’s latest estimates for wearables shows the market is set to grow approximately 173% this year as shipments increase from 26.4 million in 2014 to an estimated 72.1 million worldwide for 2015.

Author Ad Placeholder
Will only appear on redesign env.

The estimate includes both “basic wearables” and “smart wearables”— wrist wear, eyewear, modular, clothing, ear wear, and other— so it’s not just the Apple Watch and Android Wear smartwatches making up the estimate, but also all the fitness trackers, glasses, and other wearable accessories that may or may not include a screen. Last year basic wearables completely overshadowed smart wearable sales about 4 to 1 (22.1 million for basic and 4.2 million for smart), but this year IDC estimates the smart wearables category has almost closed the gap with that estimate of 72.1 million units for the year made up of 39 million basic wearables and 33.1 smart wearables.

While IDC doesn’t break down the estimate by device, and we don’t know official numbers yet from Apple for Watch sales, it does say it’s expecting that “smart wearables, those capable of running third party apps, to take the lead in 2016.” By 2019 it estimates the market will more than double with an estimate of 155.7 million total units made up of 66.3 million basic and 89.4 million smart wearables.

“Smart wearables like the Apple Watch and Micosoft’s Hololens are indicative of an upcoming change in computing, and the transition from basic to smart wearables opens up a slew of opportunities for vendors, app developers, and accessory makers…Android Wear, Tizen, and WatchOS are moving ahead with improved user interfaces, user experiences, and applications. These will raise the expectations of what a smart wearable can do, and each platform is vying for best-in-class status. We’re not there yet, but we’re seeing the building blocks of what is to come.”

Apple hasn’t revealed Apple Watch sales yet, and we might not ever get a specific breakdown outside of the iOS device category as a whole, but there are some estimates from others. The latest came just today courtesy of data complied by Slice Intelligence, estimating the Apple Watch has sold close to 3 million units in the U.S. alone. That number doesn’t include any sales in the other markets where the Apple Watch is currently on sale including the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, or Japan. And the latest from KGI Research puts total shipments worldwide at around 5-6 million so far with an estimate of just under 15 million units for the year.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

You’re reading 9to5Mac — experts who break news about Apple and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Mac on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel


  1. Do the numbers on volume (measured in USD) exist?
    Units are less relevant than USD, I think…

  2. chrisl84 - 8 years ago

    “By 2009 it estimates the market will more than double with an estimate of 155.7 million total units made up of 66.3 million basic and 89.4 million smart wearables.”

    Did I wake up in the past again?

  3. irelandjnr - 8 years ago

    As I see it the future of Apple Watch is an ever more powerful Siri on your wrist. And keys to everything you can think of that could be unlocked wirelessly and automatically.

  4. irelandjnr - 8 years ago

    I really wish 9to5 would switch to Disqus for their commenting system. These WP comments are killing me. It’s like nails down a chalkboard. This is meant to be an Apple blog, guys? Don’t choose the worst commenting platform in the multiverse.


Avatar for Jordan Kahn Jordan Kahn

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, & contributes to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, & He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s Logic Pros series.