LONDON, United Kingdom — On Friday, Credit Suisse issued a report on the rise of wearable devices — personal accessories with embedded sensors, displays and other digital technology, such as Nike's FuelBand, Google's Internet-connected eyewear and Apple's rumoured iWatch — calling them "a mega trend" that has hit "an inflection point in market adoption" and will have "a significant and pervasive impact on the economy," reports Barron's.
The "wearables" market, currently concentrated in health and fitness and estimated to be worth between $3 billion to $5 billion, is set to explode, said the report, reaching $30 billion to $50 billion over the next three to five years, as sensors and battery life improve and an ecosystem of entrepreneurs start to build thousands of apps and services on top of wearable devices, just as they have done for smartphones.
The smartphone will be the personal hub through which various tech-infused accessories will function and interconnect, said the report, which named Apple and Google, whose iOS and Android smartphone operating systems dominate the market, as amongst the best positioned to tap the growing opportunity.
There are already 250 million users running mobile operating systems that can support wearable technology, said the authors of the report, who expect more than 15 percent of smartphone owners to purchase a wearable device.
Their top investment picks in the wearable technology space include Apple, Google and Nike, which aims to eventually embed smart technology into its entire range of apparel, accessories and footwear.
In recent weeks, there has been a veritable flurry of activity in the wearables market, but traditional luxury and fashion brands, who make a sizable chunk of their revenues in personal accessories like bracelets, watches and eyewear have been noticeably absent from the space.
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