IHS IMS Research forecasts the global market for smart glasses, like Google Glass, could amount to almost 10 million units from 2012 through 2016. Shipments of smart glasses may rise to as high 6.6 million units in 2016, up from just 50,000 in 2012, for a total of 9.4 million units for the five-year period, according to an upside forecast from IMS Research, now part of IHS. Growth this year will climb 150 percent to 124,000 shipments, mostly driven by sales to developers. Expansion will really begin to accelerate in 2014 with the initial public availability of Google Glass, as shipment growth powers up to 250 percent, based on the optimistic forecast.
However, it all depends on applications development for such glasses. Under a more pessimistic scenario, IHS forecasts that only about 1 million smart glasses will be shipped through 2016. According to this outlook, applications for smart glasses will be limited to some of those already displayed by Google in its Glass marketing.