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Sun 2 Oct 2016 10:14 AM

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Fitness trackers drive growth in MidEast high-tech wearables

New figures reveal that a total of 482,000 wearable gadgets are sold in the Middle East, Africa in Q2

Fitness trackers drive growth in MidEast high-tech wearables

The Middle East and Africa (MEA) market for high-tech wearables is booming with new figures showing 66 percent growth year-on-year in the second quarter of 2016, with fitness trackers driving the increase.

Latest figures from International Data Corporation (IDC) reveal a total of 482,000 units were sold in the region during the quarter.

The global technology research and consulting firm's findings indicate that shipments of basic wearables (devices that do not support third-party applications) increased 79.8 percent while shipments of smart wearables (devices that do support third-party applications) increased 40.5 percent over the same period.

"Fitness trackers continue to make up much of the market's volume and are proving popular for the value for money they offer," said Nakul Dogra, a senior research analyst at IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey.

"Price points continue to fall, which is further fueling the growth of these devices. Smart wearables are also gaining traction in the region, but uptake is not so strong as consumers don't yet perceive much added value in opting for more expensive smart devices."

A splurge by early adopters helped drive the initial growth for smart wearables, but IDC said it expects the next wave of adoption for these devices to come from value-seeking consumers or those looking to upgrade from basic wearables.

"Vendors are currently undertaking efforts to improve the form factor of these devices and make them more appealing to the mass market," said Dogra. "But there is still considerable ground to be made up in convincing more price-conscious consumers that these products have a valuable role to play in everyday life beyond fitness."

Looking at 2016 as a whole, IDC said it expects the MEA wearables market to grow 33.9 percent year on year in unit terms.

This growth will be driven by a 42.5 percent increase in shipments of basic wearables, while the growth for smart wearables will be a more modest 16.7 percent.

"There is still plenty of room for the MEA wearables market to grow as penetration remains on the low side," said Dogra. "The market has almost reached a stage where the further miniaturisation of devices will become a major challenge, so the onus lies on vendors to develop new applications, increase the use of historical data to simplify the user experience, and enable interaction between multiple gadgets in order to push the market's growth potential further."

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