FRAMINGHAM, MA: Global shipments of wearable devices are expected to more than double to 213.6m units in 2020, up from 101.9m units by the end of this year, according to a new industry forecast.

That translates into a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.3% over the next four years, research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) predicted.

While smart watches and fitness-focused wrist bands are expected to continue their dominance of the global wearables market, other new categories – such as eyewear and clothing – will record rapid growth rates.

Eye-worn devices, for example, are expected to account for just 0.2% of the market in 2016, but its share is forecast to increase to 8.8% by 2020 after achieving an impressive 201.2% CAGR over the next four years.

Furthermore, even though this category will account for less than 10% of wearable device shipments by 2020, it will take more than 40% of total revenues thanks to the high price eyewear can command for specialised commercial devices.

Meanwhile, the clothing category is expected to capture 7.3% of the market by 2020 as consumers and athletes integrate fashion-tech into their daily lives.

And in another development, the market for smartwatches is expected to forge ahead, overtaking wrist bands to capture more than half of the market in 2020.

By then, IDC expects smartwatches to take 52.1% market share, or 111.3m shipments, and close to double the 28.5% share forecast for wrist bands.

Apart from smartwatches, out of the 213.6m wearables shipments expected in 2020, wrist bands are forecast to account for 60.8m, followed by eyewear (18.8m), clothing (15.6m), and then lesser known categories, such as clip-on devices, hearables and helmets (7.1m).

Commenting on the findings, Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers, said: "Unlike the smartphone, which consolidated multiple technologies into one device, the wearables market is a collection of disparate devices.

"Watches and bands are and always will be popular, but the market will clearly benefit from the emergence of additional form factors, like clothing and eyewear, that will deliver new capabilities and experiences."

Data sourced from IDC; additional content by Warc staff