The enterprise wearable technology market is experiencing a shift from wrist-worn devices to body- and head-worn wearables, according to a new report from ABI Research.

The firm forecasts enterprise wearable shipments will grow from 30 million in 2016 to nearly 147 million in 2021, with wrist-worn wearable shipments projected to triple by 2021 to reach 30 million. Body-worn devices will surge from 20 million to more than 116 million over the same period.

“The body-worn segment includes smart glasses, VR [virtual reality] headsets, hearables, wearable cameras, smart clothing, and mHealth [mobile health] devices,” said Stephanie Lawrence, research analyst at ABI Research. “Wrist-worn wearables have been great at collecting data, but their enterprise appeal remains limited relative to the broader opportunity provided by body-worn wearables.”

The most common form of wrist-worn enterprise device is wearable scanners, which ABI projects will comprise 73% of devices shipped in the segment by 2021. The body-worn enterprise wearable market will become much more diverse as awareness surrounding the benefits of devices such as head-mounted displays continues to increase.

These devices in particular enable workers to stay connected and access systems’ information in a hands-free manner.

“Wrist-worn devices will not go away, by any means, but body-worn devices will continue to overshadow their growth,” Lawrence said.

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