Wearable tech failed to make a huge impact last year, but 2014 could be the year that smartwatches and fitness bands finally take off. Canalys forecasts that over 17 million smart bands will ship in 2014, following massive growth in the second half of last year. Based on the analyst’s findings, 1.6 million smart bands shipped in the second half of 2013 alone. Leading the way were Fitbit’s Flex and Force bands in the “basic” category and Samsung’s Galaxy Gear in the “smart” category. We might not have found much to like in the Galaxy Gear, but it apparently managed to knock out the smartwatch competition. With a more capable sequel, Samsung could get a huge head start as the market begins to expand.
“Though currently a relatively small market serving fitness enthusiasts, wearable bands represent a massive opportunity in the medical and wellness segment,” wrote Canalys. “2014 will be the year that wearables become a key consumer technology, as the smart band segment is estimated to reach 8 million annual shipments. Canalys estimates that this number will grow to over 23 million units by 2015, and over 45 million by 2017.”