According to research commissioned by Samsung Electronics and prepared by the Centre for Retail Research (CRR), 2014 is set to be the year that the wearables sector begins making a significant economic impact with its predicted value across the UK, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands likely to hit £924.2 million by the end of the year. And it could revolutionise retail, believe some in the industry.
The value of the market in the UK is predicted to total £313.6 million by the end of 2014 with Christmas set to be the time that retailers can expect the wearables sector to have the most impact on sales.
Total Christmas sales of wearable technologies in the UK are expected to rise by 182% (£67.64 million) this year to £104.7 million totalling 1,028,800 million units. In terms of spending behaviour, unit sales are broken down as follows with fitness and activity trackers expected to be the most popular this Christmas across Europe.
Equally in the UK, fitness and activity trackers are predicted to be the most popular wearable device accounting for almost £29 million of the total £104.7 million predicted spend on wearables this Christmas. This is followed by smart watches and healthcare wearable devices which will account for £25.04 million and £22.01 million respectively.
According to the research, 2014 is set to be the year of the wearables, with the sector breaking into the mainstream consciousness. Based on retail figures from 2013 and 2014, the market is predicted to grow by 181% in terms of revenue in the UK by the end of this year, an increase of £202.05 million for the UK retail sector in 2014 alone. Fitness and activity trackers are expected to drive the most revenue for the retail sector at £80 million by the end of 2014, up from £39.1 million in 2013.
However, the biggest growth area in the UK in terms of unit sales is predicted to be in the smart watch category with an increase of 667% in 2014. The UK is also the country with the highest growth in unit sales of wearables across Europe, at 120.8%, followed closely by Germany (118.2%) and Spain (117.2%).
William Kim, AllSaints-CEO, explains why he thinks wearables are going to be revolutionary to retail: “Wearables have a key part to play in the future of fashion retail and this research today from Samsung underlines their potential to totally reinvent the sector. The last decade has seen an evolution in verbal and written communication – today I have five ways I can instantly speak with anyone in the business whether in our atelier, our distribution centres or our global stores. The next decade will see an evolution of non-verbal communication – wearables and the internet of things will communicate information at a rate never before seen allowing businesses to be more efficient and enabling greater emphasis on the customer experience. For AllSaints this is the truly exciting part.”
Andy Griffiths, President of Samsung UK & Ireland, comments: “The wearables market has exploded over the past 12 to 18 months with some incredibly exciting and innovative products entering the market. As the benefits wearable technology can offer become better understood, it is natural that the sales within this sector will grow and we are delighted to see predictions of 121% growth and sales reaching €395 million in the UK alone by the end of this year. At Samsung, we are passionate about bringing to market products that enhance peoples’ lives and hope that as we continue to innovate in the exciting wearables space that our products will continue to excite and engage people.”