A quick look at the potential size of the wearable technology market

Spring 2013

You may have noticed there is a new word in the air. Has been for the past year. The word is "wearables" and, not surprisingly, it is the future of disruptive technology.

Suddenly everybody who is anybody is talking "wearables".

Frequency of Wearables in News Headlines

And so, about this time last year, in anticipation of this new fashionable trend in linguistics, I scraped some data to see what the hype was all about. I included mobile phones into the mix because people have been wearing technology for decades (Think: Sony Walkman, Pages and now iPhones)

Global Spend on Wearables

Numbers scraped off the internet are notoriously "flaky" so I have created a worst case and best case scenario for the potential for disruption of the Fashion Accessories sector. The chart above represents the minimum estimates for the Jewellery and Handbag markets. The chart below the maximum estimates I discovered.

Global Spend on Wearables

The potential for disruption based on the average looks like this:

Global Spend on Wearables

Having look at the "Big Data" I couldn't help but think, even in the best case scenario for the disruption of costume jewellery, wearable technology has already disrupted the fashion accessory market, so isn't this just another example of the technology industry once again put a positive spin on disrupting itself?

After all, who is going to waste time disrupting costume jewellery, handbags, watches or glasses, when there is more money to be made out of manufacturing fashion accessories for the iPhone?

Could it simply be that this whole new genre of disruptive innovation is little more than the fragmentation of the smartphone? The evolution of apps into gadgets, simply because, thanks to the economics of Free, there is more money to be made from hardware than software?

Or is it simply the cyclical nature of this industry? It is, after all, nothing, if not, fashionable.

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