Finally the wearable market is expected to grow!
“The market for connected wearables has entered a strong growth phase that will last for many years to come.” – (Berg Insight, 2017)
In 2016 the estimated units shipped reached 96.5 million. Following Berg Insights research, the upcoming five years the connected wearables market is expected to grow with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.2%, to reach the shipment of 262.5 million units in 2021. This growth is divided over the following categories:
- Fitness and Activity Trackers vs Smartwatches
Through lower prices and new form factors the current largest connected wearable category, fitness & activity trackers, will reach shipments of 81.0 million units in 2021. Moreover, the smartwatch category, in 2016 comprising just 20.7 million units, is predicted to be the largest category in 2021, with an estimated 115.0 shipments.
- Smart Glasses
With 1.2 million units in 2016, the sales of smart glasses was modest, not having reached its potential. This was the result from high prices, privacy concerns and limited availability. However the promising use cases in the niche consumer and the professional markets display demand. This will enable a shipment of 13.0 million smart glass devices in 2021.
- Medical Devices and People Monitoring and Safety Devices
Already common in the categories of medical devices and people monitoring and safety devices are ECG monitors, Personal Emergency Response Systems (mPERS) and cardiac rhythm management devices. The two categories are estimated to grow to 16.0 million and 9.2 million shipments by 2021.
- Smart Clothing
An upcoming trend is the smart clothing. The focus on elite and professional applications together with overlapping use cases and low consumer awareness have limited large scale adoption. This however will change. The research suggest that the shipment of smart clothing will grow from 1.56 units in 2016 to 18.3 million units in 2021.
- Other Connected Wearable Devices
Lastly, other wearable devices, no covered in the above categories, will grow from 1.4 million units in 2016 to 10.0 million units in 2021, having a CAGR of 48.2%.
Throughout these five years of growth Bluetooth will remain the primary connectivity option with regards to consumer centric wearables. For wearable medical devices this will be low power NFC technologies and Bluetooth which enables remote connectivity via medical monitoring system hubs. Moreover in 2021 the number of active cellular network connections from wearables is expected to reach 47.7 million connections. In 2016 this was only 3.3 million. This growth is mainly driven by two main factors:
- In the smartwatch category cellular is increasingly adopted.
- In the people monitoring and safety category, cellular connectivity is already the main type of technology and will continue to increasingly be used for many types of devices.
Finally, it is good to know that bring your own device (BYOD) will increasingly impact the medical device category, especially when looking at connected care and patient-driven models.
This article is based on the Connected Wearable Report 2017 – 3th Edition of Berg Insight