The enterprise wearable market is experiencing a shift from wrist-worn devices to body- and head-worn wearables. ABI Research forecasts enterprise wearable shipments will grow from 30 million shipments in 2016 to nearly 147 million in 2021 with wrist-worn wearable shipments projected to triple by 2021 to reach 30 million. Body-worn devices will surge from 20 million to more than 116 million over the same period.
"The body-worn segment includes smart glasses, VR headsets, hearables, wearable cameras, smart clothing, and health devices," said Stephanie Lawrence, research analyst at ABI Research. "Wrist-worn wearables have been great at collecting data, but their enterprise appeal remains limited relative to the broader opportunity provided by body-worn wearables."
The most common form of wrist-worn enterprise devices is wearable scanners, which are projected to comprise 73% of devices shipped in this segment by 2021. The body-worn enterprise wearable market, however, will become much more diverse as awareness surrounding the benefits of devices like head-mounted displays continues to increase. These devices in particular allow workers to stay connected and access systems' information in a hands-free manner.
"Wrist-worn devices will not go away, by any means, but body-worn devices will continue to overshadow their growth," concluded Lawrence. "Central to enterprise wearables' move up the adoption curve is the general migration from mobile to more desk-less and dynamic work environments, where companies like Google, Microsoft, ODG, and Vuzix, are heavily invested."