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What will drive MEA wearables growth in 2017?

* MEA wearables market to reach 2.4 million units in 2017

* Third quarter saw 38.3 per cent Y-o-Y growth with nearly 487,000 units

* Low-cost basic wearables grew 55.9 per cent Y-o-Y in Q3

Middle East and Africa wearables market is poised to grow 22.6 per cent in 2017, according to the latest figures from a leading market research and consultancy firm.

International Data Corporation (IDC) expects that the market, on the back of a strong growth of basic wearables will hit 1.96 million units for this year, which represents an increase of 38.4 per cent on 2015.

Innovation will spur growth

IDC estimates that new product launches in the earwear and clothing categories will fuel further growth and the market will reach 2.4 million units in the next year.

“Value-seeking buyers need to trigger the next wave of growth for wearables, and vendors need to come up with innovative products and applications in order to spur purchases of these gadgets,” says Nakul Dogra, a senior research analyst for personal computing, systems, and infrastructure solutions at IDC MEA.

“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.”

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Basic wearables take Q3

The wearables market grew 38.3 per cent year on year in Q3 2016 to total approximately 487,000 units. The growth is being driven by low-cost basic wearables (i.e., devices that do not support third-party applications), which grew 55.9 per cent year on year, while shipments of smart wearables (i.e., devices that do support third-party applications) increased 4.1 per cent over the same period, according to IDC.

“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,” says Dogra.

“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.”