The market for wearable technology is expected to exceed $6 billion by 2015, according to a report from IMS Research.

The demand for devices is currently concentrated around a number of products that are used for healthcare, medical monitoring, fitness and wellbeing.

In 2011, 14m wearable devices were shipped, a figure that IMS Research estimates will increase to between 39m and 171m by 2016.

“A $6 billion market in 2016 is our most conservative forecast, which assumes that the adoption of wearable technology will be limited by factors.

“These include a lack of suitable technology, poor user compliance and lack of an overall enhanced experience from devices that are wearable as compared to non-wearable products,” explained Theo Ahadome, senior analyst at IMS research.

The report, ‘World Market for Wearable Technology – A Quantitative Market Assessment – 2012’, finds that the most popular devices in the market tend to offer functions such as transmitting vital signs and the monitoring of user performance.

Dominant products currently include continuous glucose monitors from companies such as Abbot and Medtronic, and activity monitors such as Fitbit, Adidas miCoach and Nike+ Fuelband. Heart rate monitors from Garmin, Polar and Suunto are also popular with consumers.

IMS Research believes new product areas such as smart watches, smart glasses, sleep sensors and hand-worn terminals could have a strong impact on the wearable technology market by 2016.

Continuous glucose monitoring is expected to remain the dominant product in the healthcare and medical market.

“In our mid-range and upside projections, product introductions such as Google’s Smart Glasses and the rumoured Apple Smart Watch come to fruition and are successful.

“In addition, an increasingly self-aware consumer seeks more and more data on their health and fitness, leading to even more rapid expansion in the market for wearable technology,” added Ahadome.