Sales of smartwatches like the Apple Watch are expected to grow nearly 50 percent from 2015 to 2017, according to a new forecast from Gartner.
The total number of smartwatch units sold is expected to increase from 30.3 million in 2015 to 50.4 million in 2016 before jumping further to 66.7 million in 2017, according to the forecast.
Nearly $11.5 billion of the total $28.7 billion in sales from wearables in 2016 is expected to come from smartwatches, Gartner predicted.
Despite this growth, however, Gartner said it expects smartwatch sales to remain significantly below those of smartphones.
“Smartwatches have the greatest revenue potential among all wearables through 2019, reaching $17.5 billion,” said Gartner research director Angela McIntyre. “Though the sales of smartwatches are the one of the strongest types of wearables, their adoption will remain much below sales of smartphones. For example, in 2016 more than 374 million smartphones will sell in mature market countries and in large urban areas of emerging market countries, for example, in Hong Kong and Singapore.”
Sales of wearable devices overall are also expected to grow over the next year by 18.4 percent to 274.6 million, the forecast said.
Another market that is forecast to see massive growth over the next two years is head-mounted displays, sales of which Gartner said it expects will jump from around 140,000 in 2015 to 6.3 million in 2017.
“New virtual reality HMDs for consumers, such as the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Sony PlayStation VR, and Microsoft HoloLens are expected to be available along with video games and entertainment content as well as business applications critical for their success,” Gartner research director Brian Blau said.
Blau said film producers and sports leagues will likely take advantage of the growth of head-mounted displays with augmented interactive attractions, movies and events that “make the content more personal and meaningful.”
Nearly 26 percent of head-mounted displays are expected to be designed for business use in 2018, Gartner said.