While its only the beginning of November, Christmas is in full swing for retailers, and this year's hottest gifts are wearable devices. More money is expected to be spent on wearable technology like the Fitbit and the Apple Watch this holiday season than in any previous year. New research by Samsung, which itself is about to debut a new smartwatch, projects spending on such devices will increase 182 percent this year compared to 2013.
Tech giants like Google are increasingly creating standalone wearable products as opposed to those made as accessories for smartphones, driving the popularity of the devices. The Samsung study found that fitness and activity tracking technology will be the most popular this year, as users further appreciate the health benefits of the devices. According to the report, almost $1.5 billion will be spent on activity monitors and smartwatches by the end of 2014.
"The wearables market has exploded over the past 12 to 18 months with some incredibly exciting and innovative products entering the market," said Samsung U.K. and Ireland president Andy Griffith. "As the benefits wearable technology can offer become better understood, it is natural that the sales within this sector will grow and we are delighted to see predictions of 121 percent growth and sales reaching €395 million ($495 million) in the U.K. alone by the end of this year."
As wearables take hold, data safety at risk
London's Imperial College Business School and communications firm Zeno also conducted research into the area, which revealed that consumers are increasingly willing to put their fears about data privacy aside in order to access better features and benefits from their wearable technology. Half of respondents said they would be willing to share personal information in exchange for a reward. The study also discovered that 6 million people in the U.K. will own a wearable device by September 2015, despite the fact that 55 percent of those surveyed reported not wanting third-parties to be able to collect information gathered by their devices.
As wearable devices continue to grow in popularity, workers will be increasingly interested in using these products at work in the same way they do at home. Enterprises will need to begin incorporating wearables like smartwatches into their BYOD policies in order to protect company networks from their employees' lack of safety precautions.