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Emerging markets will hold back wearables market

The growth of the wearables market in the past five years has stemmed solely from adoption in North America, Western Europe and parts of Asia, and according to a new study from BI Intelligence it will remain that way for the next five years.

Even though the amount of wearables in the world is expected to grow from 108 million in 2014 to 578 million in 2019, the adoption ratio in regions will remain the same, with North America, Asia Pacific and Western Europe accounting for 80 per cent of all sales.

Places like India, Brazil and Indonesia will not be interested in wearables in the near future, due to millions of people only just getting their first mobile device.

Wearable sales mostly come from the adoption of low-cost fitness trackers. In terms of smartwatch sales, results are low, with Android Wear managing to shift less than one million units in the second half of 2014.

China will be a powerful market in the Asian region. Apple has already promoted the Apple Watch through Vogue China, and Xiaomi launched an inexpensive fitness tracker a few months ago that gained over one million sales in the first week.

Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea are other big potential markets in the Asian region when it comes to wearables, but India, Thailand, Indonesia and other emerging markets will continue to focus on mobiles.

In North America, Canada and the US are expected to be big contributors to the growth of wearables, alongside places like the UK, Germany, France, Switzerland and Belgium in Europe.

Spain, Italy and Eastern Europe are unlikely to be a big provider of sales, due to the low amounts of premium mobile adoption in the regions.

Of course, this is all subjective to how well the Apple Watch performs. If it manages to sell hundreds of millions of units in the first year, it could spark a huge shift in the need for wearables, in turn pushing the sales of Android Wear and Pebble to extreme lengths.

David has been a technology journalist for over six years, covering a wide range of sectors. He currently researches apps, app sectors and app markets for Business of Apps, and has written for ITProPortal, RTInsights, ReadWrite, and Digital Trends.