Close your eyes and remember the days of yore—that is, three or four years ago, when things were simpler. Politics seemed more quaint, cryptocurrency bubbles weren’t causing mass hysteria, and wearable devices were the fascinating future Americans were sure to enjoy. Take this quote from ABI Research in 2013: “ABI Research forecasts the wearable computing device market will grow to 485 million annual device shipments by 2018.”
Cut to today: Donald Trump is president, and wearables are still not a thing. In fact, sales of internet-connected wearable devices have grown slowly despite companies like Apple and Google trying to make them more mainstream. From a new eMarketer report:
Next year, eMarketer expects 50.1 million U.S. adults will use some type of wearable device at least once a month, representing 19.6% of the population. Wearable usage will continue to grow over the forecast period, but the rate will slow to single digits beginning in 2019.
According to eMarketer, smart watches continue to dominate most of the growth in the wearable space. But despite more devices being introduced, there has yet to be a “must-have item” that causes an explosion of interest. Compare this revelation to another eMarketer report from 2015, which predicted: “The next several years will continue to see double-digit growth in the number of Americans using wearable devices.” It projected there would be 81.7 million U.S. users in 2018. So much for that.
Of course, the future is anything but predictable. So perhaps some new device will come next year that will turn the market on its head. But the promised future of every human porting Wi-Fi-connected wearable products has yet to be delivered.