The Middle East and Africa (MEA) wearables market continued its strong growth trajectory into the first quarter of 2017, according to the latest figures compiled by global ICT research and consulting services firm International Data Corporation (IDC).
Bucking a trend that has seen a slowdown in other segments of the personal consumer devices market, IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker for Q1 showed that shipments of wearables were up 30.2 percent year on year in the MEA region.
While shipments of basic wearables - devices that do not support third-party applications - increased 16.8 percent, it was the growth of smart wearables that provided much of the market's momentum, with shipments up 64.9 percent compared to Q1 2016.
IDC said this marks a considerable turnaround for the market, with Samsung's Gear S3 line of smart watches and Apple's Series 1 and Series 2 smart watch offerings being particularly well received in the market.
IDC said it expects the MEA wearables market to grow 20.9 percent in 2017 to reach a total of 2.9 million units. The smart wearables segment will continue to be the prime driver of this growth, with shipments tipped to increase 52 percent.
In the longer term, IDC's latest forecast shows the market expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.2 percent over the 2016–2021 period.
"The MEA wearables market is in the midst of a major transformation," said Nakul Dogra, a senior research analyst at IDC MEA.
"Indeed, we are seeing an evolution of the market from fitness bands to smart wearables such as watches, earwear, and clothing. IDC expects that by the end of 2021, smart wearables will account for 43 percent of total wearables shipments in the region, up from just 26 percent in 2016.
"Increasingly, tech firms are collaborating with well-known fashion brands on new offerings to keep consumers interested, and this approach will be instrumental in driving wearables growth as it opens up the devices to new audiences through the inclusion of point of sales in fashion outlets."For all the latest retail news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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