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Wearable device shipments to triple in '14: report

TAIPEI--Global shipments of wearable computing devices for 2014 are expected to triple in 2014 as international brands gear up to launch new models to tap the growing market, market researcher International Data Corp. (IDC) said in a report.

Shipments of wearable devices this year are expected to exceed 19 million units and could continue to grow over the next few years at a compound annual growth rate of 78.4 percent to about 112 million units in 2018, said the IDC report, which was released on April 10.

IDC said complex accessories, such as a combination of fitness and wearable computing devices, will lead the wearable market through 2018 as consumers embrace the products' simplicity and low prices.

“Complex accessories have succeeded in drawing much-needed interest and attention to a wearable market that has had some difficulty gaining traction,” IDC said in a statement.

Several electronics giants, such as South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. and Japan's Sony Corp., unveiled smart watches and smart bracelets at the 2014 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February to boost the visibility of wearable devices in the market.

Andy Tu, head of Samsung Taiwan's mobile and information division, said he expects growth of the wearable devices to accelerate in the first half of this year and explode in the second half.

Tu said Samsung will try to broaden its distribution network for the product, while promoting wearable devices as a fashion trend and pitching the convenience of wearing the device while exercising to win over young consumers.

An IDC ConsumerScape 360 survey of more than 50,000 consumers in 26 countries showed Samsung was identified as the most trusted brand for wearable devices, ahead of Apple Inc., Sony and Google Inc.

In addition to Samsung and Sony, other Asian brands, such as Taiwanese smartphone vendor HTC Corp. and China's Huawei Technologies Co., plan to enter the new field by the end of this year to diversify their product portfolios.

HTC Chairwoman Cher Wang said in an interview with Bloomberg in February that her company has set up a special task force to develop wearable devices and planned to put a wearable device on the market ahead of this year's Christmas shopping season.

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