BASINGSTOKE: The global market for smart wearable devices will grow 367% from 2013 to 2017 to reach 70m units, according to a study from mobile telecoms specialist Juniper Research.

The report, Wearables – The Next Smart Thing, looks at the market for smart glasses, health and fitness devices and enterprise wearables. It predicts that 15m devices will be sold worldwide this year, rising to a total of 70m by 2017.

The bulk of sales, some 60%, will be in the mature markets of North America and Western Europe. 

In terms of value, sales are expected to grow rapidly in the short term, rising from $800m in 2013 to more than $1.5bn in 2014.

An important factor in driving uptake, apart from price, will be the availability of apps, Juniper Research stated.

"The development of the smartphone/app store model has opened up new avenues for other segments within the market, such as the wearable device market, by combining mobility with an efficient method of software delivery," said report author Nitin Bhas.

He added: "The simultaneous development of app-ecosystem and wearable devices will integrate technologies, such as augmented reality, into human life more seamlessly."

The race to be first to market with smart glasses is being keenly fought. At the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Vuzix, a small company based in Rochester, New York, announced its product, priced at under $500, would be ready this summer.

Google, meanwhile says developers will get access to its wearable device, Google Glass, later this year. The augmented reality glasses are scheduled to be available to the general public in 2014.

A fuller analysis of wearable devices is available for Warc subscribers in this Trends Snapshot presentation on Next-Gen Glasses.

Data sourced from Juniper Research/VentureBeat; additional content by Warc staff