Iltifat Husain MD contributed to this piece

Shipments of smart wearable brands, led by Samsung’s new smartwatch, are expected to see huge growth this year according to independent analyst Canalys.

Last year, Credit Suisse researchers also made bold predictions on wearable tech, predicting that it would be the next big thing, predicting growth from between $3 billion to $5 billion this year to $50 billion within five years.

In the first half of 2013 about 200,000 smart watches were shipped.

During the second half of the same year the number of shipments rose to 1.6 million, representing a 700% increase in growth. Canalys predicts that the number of smart bands shipped could reach 45 million units by 2017.

“Though currently a relatively small market serving fitness enthusiasts, wearable bands represent a massive opportunity in the medical and wellness segment. 2014 will be the year that wearables become a key consumer technology” said Canalys.

The wearable band sector includes smart bands as well as basic bands such as the Fitbit Flex and Nike Fuelband. 17 million basic bands are expected to be shipped in 2014. This means health care providers will need to have a better understanding of these types of devices as more patients will be using them for weight loss and lifestyle changes.

The smart band sector is currently led by Samsung who released their Galaxy Gear smartwatch in September. The rumored Apple iWatch is expected to be released this year along with the iPhone 6 according to many industry analysts.

Source: CNBC