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Wed 21 Dec 2016 01:57 PM

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MidEast wearables market forecast to see strong growth in 2017

IDC says uptake of wearables has been relatively slow in region so there is still plenty of room for adoption

MidEast wearables market forecast to see strong growth in 2017

The Middle East wearables market continued to see steady growth in the third quarter of 2016, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC).

The ICT research and consulting services firm said the Middle East and Africa market grew 38.3 percent year on year in Q3 to total approximately 487,000 units.

It said the growth is being driven by low-cost basic wearables, which grew 55.9 percent year on year, while shipments of smart wearables - devices that support third-party applications - increased 4.1 percent over the same period.

"Buyers for smart wearables are limited as the main application for these devices is fitness, which is an area that basic wearables also cater for at a much lower cost," said Nakul Dogra, a senior research analyst for personal computing, systems, and infrastructure solutions at IDC MEA.

"Basic wearables continue to experience higher uptake as their already-low prices are declining further still in a bid to drive differentiation, since there is little to separate the offerings in terms of functionality."

IDC said it expects the MEA wearables market to total 1.96 million units for 2016 as a whole, which represents an increase of 38.4 percent on 2015.

Looking ahead, the market is tipped to grow a further 22.6 percent in 2017 to reach 2.4 million units for the year.

IDC said the uptake of wearables has been relatively slow in MEA when compared to other regions, so there is still plenty of room for adoption and continued steady growth over the coming years. New product launches in the earwear and clothing categories will also fuel further growth.

Dogra said: "The focus of vendors should be on developing new applications and finding new ways to make use of the existing data captured by wearables so as to enable day-to-day tasks to be performed much easier. There should also be efforts to create an ecosystem of gadgets so that these devices can interact with each other and freely exchange information."

There are already signs of some consolidation taking place in the industry, both in terms of vendors and operating systems with Fitbit's buyout of Pebble representing a clear step in this direction.

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