A buoyant wearables market is only likely to grow stronger as more devices are designed that can monitor a range of health indicators, a new report suggests.

The International Data Corporation (IDC), in its Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, reveals that 24.7 million wearable devices were shipped in the first quarter of this year, up 17.9% on last year’s figure. Apple and Xiaomi lead the way, sending out 3.6 million devices each.

Jitesh Ubrani – senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers – said we are in the first phase of the wearables era, which he insists is “all about getting people accustomed to the idea of wearing a device”.

And with wearables that can inform people when they are getting ill, it is likely the upward trend will continue.

“The second phase of development will be all about putting user data to good use. This is when step counts translate into healthier hearts and minds. And it’s also when we will start to see devices that actually augment our abilities and make our lives easier or more productive rather than just being another screen we keep an eye on,” added Ubrani.