News: Smartwatch shipments to hit 50.4 million this year.
The popularity of the Apple Watch, fitness wearables, and virtual reality headsets will contribute to sales of wearable devices, with sales predicted to increase by almost a fifth this year, according to Gartner.
The research firm predicts that 274.6 million wearable electronic devices will be shipped globally this year, an increase of 18.4% on the 232 million units sold in 2015.
The growth in sales is expected to generate $28.7bn in revenue during 2016, with smartwatch adoption alone contributing $11.5bn to that figure.
Gartner research director Angela McIntyre said the impact of Apple popularising wearables as a lifestyle trend will result in a 48% growth in smartwatch adoption from 2015 through 2017.
Last year, Apple Watch topped the secure smartwatch list, compared to the Samsung Gear 2 Neo, Motorola Mobility Moto 360 and the Shenzhen Qini U8 by MobileIron.
McIntyre said: "Smartwatches have the greatest revenue potential among all wearables through 2019, reaching $17.5 billion.
"Though the sales of smartwatches are the one of the strongest types of wearables, their adoption will remain much below sales of smartphones."
McIntyre points out that in 2016, over 374 million smartphones will sell both in more mature markets like the UK and the US, as well as in large urban areas of emerging markets like Hong Kong and Singapore.
Sports watches are expected to maintain average retail price in the next few years because of their user interface, capabilities and durability.
Gartner said that wristband providers are exploring options on how to compete with smartwatches and grab market share from Fitbit.
The research firm noted that the future is also looking good for head-mounted displays (HMDs), a category which includes devices like the Oculus Rift and Microsoft HoloLens.
Only 140,000 head-worn devices were shipped in 2015, but the company expects the figure to increase to 1.43 million in the next 12 months and reach 6.31 million in 2017.
Gartner research director Brian Blau said: "New virtual reality HMDs for consumers, such as the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Sony PlayStation VR and Microsoft HoloLens, are expected to be available along with video games and entertainment content as well as business applications critical for their success."
About 26% of HMDs are expected to be designed for business use in 2018.
A new study by Juniper Research has revealed that more than 12 million consumer smart glasses will ship in 2020, with the majority of growth taking place after 2017.
The existing market is 15 months behind earlier expectations due to the withdrawal of Google Glass last year.
Juniper Research, however, forecasts the market will rejuvenate by 2017, due to the general availability of HoloLens, and other devices from vendors such as ODG, Sony, Meta and potentially Magic Leap move beyond developer-only devices and become generally available.