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Wearable Tech

Wearables market expected to hit 213 million units shipped in 2020

Wrist bands to surrender market lead to smartwatches, IDC predicts, while smart eyewear and clothing will see dramatic growth.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Consumer interest in wearable technology shows no sign of waning any time soon.

Global shipments of wearable devices is expected to reach 101.9 million units by the end of 2016, an increase of 29 percent over last year, according to a report released Wednesday by market researcher IDC. The market's annual growth rate is expected to remain steady at about 20 percent for the next couple of years, culminating in 213.6 million units shipped in 2020, IDC said.

Wrist bands such as those made by FitBit and Jawbone currently command a little more than 50 percent of the market compared with the 40 percent market share held by smartwatches. But that relationship is expected to flip by 2020, when IDC predicts that smartwatches will hold 52 percent of the market to wrist bands' 28.5 percent.

IDC also sees a dramatic uptick in smart eyewear and clothing shipments by 2020. The two categories, which currently account for a combined wearables market share of less than 1 percent, are expected to take 8.8 percent and 7.3 percent of the wearables market in five years.