Businesses, military forces and medical professionals have been using wearable technology for decades, but the private consumer market has only recently started to feature items such as smart glasses, smart watches, hearables, fitness and health trackers, smart jewelry and smart clothing. The most successful wearable devices on the market right now are smart watches and health and fitness tracker with earwear projected to become the most dominant category in the future. In fact, more than 270 million units of earwear are forecast to be shipped in 2023, much more than any other wearable category. Wristwear (watches and wristbands) are projected to reach almost 180 million units by that time.
The leading smart watch vendors are Apple, Fitbit, Samsung and Garmin with Apple holding the largest share of the market. Despite its strong position in the smart watch market, Apple does not enjoy the same stable dominance in the overall wearable industry. With a strong presence in the health and fitness wearable market, Fitbit had been a leader in the wearable industry till 2017, when it began to be overtaken, first by Apple, then by the Chinese company Xiaomi, whose Mi Band fitness tracker has been witnessing great success. In the first three quarters of 2019 wearable device shipments amounted to about 150 million units.