By TINTSWALO BALOYI
JOHANNESBURG – THE adoption of wearables continues unabated in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region but vendors must address the functionality of the devices.
Shipments in the regions reached an all-time high of 746 000 units in the final quarter of 2016, according to the latest figures compiled by International Data Corporation (IDC).
The global ICT research and consulting services firm says shipments were up 29 percentvyear on year in Q4 2016, spurred by new launches from leading vendors and the entrance of new players to the market.
In the entire 2016, IDC’s data shows that wearables shipments for the MEA region were up 52 percent year on year.
This was primarily driven by the strong performance of low-cost basic wearables (i.e., devices that do not support third-party applications), which grew 67,9 percent year on year in 2016.
The growth for smart wearable devices was not quite as spectacular, with shipments up 20,7 percent over the same period.
“The wearables market is continuously evolving,” says Nakul Dogra, a senior research analyst for personal computing, systems, and infrastructure solutions at IDC MEA.
“Going forward, we expect the smart watch space to become further segmented, with each brand/product catering to a niche audience and addressing the particular needs of specific users in a more effective way.”
However, health and fitness are the only areas currently addressed by wearable tech.
Users do not receive any incremental benefit in terms of functionality from investing the additional cost required for a smart wearable device.
“There is therefore a need for wearables to evolve from basic functionalities like counting steps and analyzing sleeping patterns to more complex functionalities that rely on the use of third-party apps,” said Dogra.