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The Rise of Wearable Technology: A Revolution on Your Wrist and Beyond

Introduction

Wearable technology has taken the world by storm, transforming the way we interact with our surroundings and enhancing our daily lives. From smartwatches to fitness trackers, wearable devices have become an integral part of our digital ecosystem. In this blog article, we will explore the burgeoning wearable technology market, its rapid growth, and the transformative impact it has on various industries.

 

Wearable technology is one of the most prominent technology that incorporates technology with regular accessories that enables users to make their life easier. This technology helps its users in achieving their particular goals. Wearable devices are expected to offer benefits to the different classes of people in their daily lives.

The global wearable technology market was valued at USD 61.30 billion in 2022 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.6% from 2023 to 2030.

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The Versatility of Wearable Devices

Wearable devices go far beyond mere fashion statements; they encompass a wide range of functionalities and applications. Some of the most popular wearable gadgets include:

  1. Smartwatches: A modern-day essential, smartwatches combine the convenience of a timepiece with advanced features like fitness tracking, notifications, GPS, and even the ability to make calls and respond to messages.
  2. Fitness Trackers: Fitness enthusiasts have embraced wearable fitness trackers that monitor heart rate, steps taken, calories burned, and sleep patterns, providing valuable insights into overall health and wellness.
  3. Augmented Reality (AR) Glasses: AR glasses overlay digital information onto the real world, revolutionizing industries like healthcare, education, and gaming.
  4. Virtual Reality (VR) Headsets: VR headsets transport users to immersive digital environments, changing the landscape of gaming, entertainment, and training.
  5. Smart Clothing: Smart textiles with embedded sensors monitor body vitals, posture, and temperature, enhancing performance and safety in sports and healthcare.

Wearable Technology and Healthcare

The healthcare industry has been significantly impacted by wearable technology. These devices empower individuals to take charge of their health by monitoring vital signs, tracking fitness goals, and managing chronic conditions. Healthcare professionals can access real-time patient data, enabling better diagnosis and personalized treatment plans. Moreover, wearables aid in remote patient monitoring, reducing hospital readmissions and improving patient outcomes.

Revolutionizing Fitness and Wellness

Wearable fitness trackers have revolutionized the way people approach their fitness and wellness goals. From counting steps to tracking sleep patterns, wearables provide a holistic view of one’s health, encouraging users to make informed lifestyle choices. The gamification of fitness apps and social sharing features have also fostered a sense of community, motivating individuals to stay active and achieve their objectives.

Market Drivers

The wearable technology market has seen significant growth in recent years and is expected to continue to grow in the future. Wearable technology is gaining importance among consumers owing to its diverse applications in the industrial sector, healthcare, and consumer electronics among others.

Overall, the growth of the wearable technology market can be attributed to the increasing awareness of the benefits of wearable devices, advancements in technology, rising healthcare costs, the popularity of smartwatches, and the growing interest in fitness and health. These trends are expected to continue in the future, leading to further growth in the wearable technology market.

  1. Increasing Awareness: More people are becoming aware of the benefits of wearable technology, which has led to an increase in demand for these products. Wearable technology has become more popular as it offers convenience and portability, allowing users to track their health and fitness more easily and receive notifications and updates in real-time.
  2. Advancements in Technology: With advancements in technology, wearable devices have become more accurate and versatile. Wearable devices are now capable of tracking a wide range of health metrics, including heart rate, sleep patterns, and activity levels. Additionally, the integration of sensors and other advanced features has made wearable technology more useful and attractive to consumers.
    • Rapid development in technologies, such as Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and GPS for location tracking and tracking health, is anticipated to support the industry’s growth during the forecast years.
    • Integrating AI and AR technologies enable manufacturers to add new advanced features to their products. For instance, the Adaptive EQ technology introduced by Apple, Inc. with the launch of their AirPods in 2021 tunes the sound in real-time based on the profile and fit of the user’s ear.
  3. Rising Healthcare Costs: With the cost of healthcare rising, many people are turning to wearable devices as a way to monitor and manage their health. Wearable devices are seen as a cost-effective solution to monitor health and detect any potential health problems before they become more serious.
  4. Increasing Popularity of Smartwatches: Smartwatches have become more popular in recent years and are now considered a mainstream consumer technology. This popularity has led to an increase in demand for wearable technology as a whole.
  5. Growing Interest in Fitness and Health: The growing interest in fitness and health has contributed to the demand for wearable devices that can track activity levels and monitor health metrics. Wearable devices can provide users with valuable insights into their health and fitness, which has become increasingly important to many people.  In addition, several companies, such as Fitbit, Samsung, Noise, and Fossil Group, Inc., are introducing wearable technology watches and other accessories with health tracking solutions. Such a feature is anticipated to attract consumers as it helps them check their health, which paves the way for market growth. These devices aid in monitoring health by keeping track of cholesterol levels, calories burnt, oxygen levels, etc., through sensors.

The advent of technology has led to the integration of smart wearables in clothing, also known as smart clothing. Smart or IoT-based apparel are electrical components integrated into clothing that offer services, which can be used in larger smart systems through communication-based protocols.

  • Geriatric Population

The increase in the geriatric population acts as one of the major factors driving the growth of wearable devices market as they are more prone to chronic diseases.

The wearable technology industry is expected to play a larger role in the medical and health sector as a result of an ageing global population and increased adoption of the internet of things (IoT). The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated this growth and, in turn, there has been a surge in fitness trends at home, as well as an emphasis on developing a more connected healthcare system capable of continuous monitoring.

As the ageing population becomes more of a burden on the healthcare framework, products such as remote patient monitoring devices and devices using mobile health apps will become more lucrative to the average consumer. Additionally, companies will provide additional spending for R&D towards wearable technology to capitalize on that increasing demand and work to create more accurate sensors and more reliable data for medical use. As a result, the population will begin to readily adopt and learn new wearable technologies, contributing to the growth of the sector that we are seeing today.

 

  • Fitness and Healthcare Applications

The rise in consumer preference for sleek and compact devices in fitness and healthcare applications accelerate the market growth. The increasing adoption of smart wearable technology products among consumers is driving industry growth. Rapid changes in consumer demographics, such as changing lifestyle patterns and preferences, are expected to boost product demand, which is anticipated to drive industry growth. In addition, high consumer spending on personal care products is projected to support the demand for wearable devices. The demand for smartwatches among swimmers, cyclists, runners, and gym-goers is high as they aid in tracking the calories burnt, hourly activity, and stationary time.

  • Lifestyle Diseases

The surge in the prevalence of lifestyle diseases, such as atherosclerosis, heart disease, and stroke further influence the market.

The use of wearable devices in healthcare is rising due to the pandemic as these products offer advantages and benefits to both patients and healthcare providers. Some of these benefits include real-time health monitoring of vital statistics and earlier detection of disease or risk of a significant health event. Wearable technologies and ear-worn have witnessed robust growth as consumers rely on these devices for remote work, health tracking, fitness activities, and more.

Restraints

Some obstacles to the continued growth of this sector include the lack of actionable data and accuracy of the sensors, which can be addressed by the push for research and development (R&D) to advance these technologies.

However, the increasing availability of counterfeit products is expected to challenge market growth. A rise in the production of low-cost fraudulent devices with more offerings and benefits is expected to restrain the growth of the industry as consumers usually opt for products offering similar features at a considerably lower price.

On the other hand, concerns regarding limited battery life and unaddressed regulatory issues are expected to obstruct market growth.

Additionally, the cost of these products is another barrier that may be overcome in future by the above-mentioned advancements, thereby driving down the cost to manufacture these devices. Thirdly, most insurance plans do not offer coverage for these types of purchases though that may change in future if the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chooses to classify wearables as medical devices and the process to get FDA-approved wearable devices can begin.

 

Market Segments

Product (Wrist-wear, Eyewear, Footwear, Neckwear, Body wear, Others), Type (Smart Textile, Passive, Active, Ultra-Smart and Non-Textile), Industry (Consumer Products, Healthcare, Industrial and Others), End Users (Personal Users and Enterprises)

The smartwatches and hearables segments are the largest segments of wearables and have shown the most significant growth in the sector. From the hearables segment, Apple is the largest player, having a 36% market share last year with the release of their third-generation AirPods. Apple watches also continue to dominate the smartwatch market, with a 29% market share in Q2 2022 with their latest product, the Apple Watch Series 8.

While previous generations of smartwatches included standard sensors to measure heart rate and blood pressure and deduce sleep patterns, the newest smartwatches have more complex functionality such as fall detection using accelerometers and gyroscopes, measuring blood oxygen and echocardiogram (ECG), and even temperature sensors that claim to track ovulation cycles.

Aside from smartwatches, there are various wearable devices in development and on the market that aim to tackle seizure detection and blood glucose monitoring, as well as pain relief with those neurological diseases. As these technologies become more refined, wearable devices will play a greater role in the healthcare process.

* The eyewear & head-wear segment is expected to register the second-fastest growth rate from 2022 to 2030. The increasing adoption of AR/VR headsets in the healthcare and multimedia industries and the growing adoption of smart hats support the segment growth.

* Consumers buying smart wearables, such as smartwatches, smart footwear, etc., are majorly intended to use their devices for health and fitness monitoring.
* The consumer electronics segment led the market in 2021. Many applications are available for consumer electronics, including entertainment, recreation, and communication. Consumers are increasingly seeking wearable consumer electronics, so industry players are developing devices that keep track of a person’s working hours.
* In addition, the rise of connected devices and machine-to-machine communication is expected to support the industry’s growth.

Product Insights

On the basis of products, the global industry has been further categorized into wristwear, eyewear & headwear, footwear, neckwear, body wear, and others. The wrist-wear product segment dominated the global industry in 2022 and accounted for the maximum share of more than 49.45% of the overall revenue. Several manufacturers of smartwatches and fitness trackers target consumers, such as athletes, adventure lovers, and sports enthusiasts, to increase their product sales. These devices provide fitness-related metrics and encourage a healthy lifestyle by providing information on calorie intake, water intervals, and step monitoring.

Headwear & eyewear is estimated to be the second-largest and second-fastest-growing product segment from 2022 to 2030. The increasing implementation of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality (VR & AR) headsets in the multimedia and healthcare industries and the rising uptake of smart hats are projected to support the growth of this segment. Furthermore, the increasing popularity of smart caps, due to their data-driven insights and tracking technology, is estimated to boost segment development. Several companies, such as Spree Wearables and Life BEAM, are introducing smart hats in the global industry.

Application Insights

The consumer electronics application segment led the industry in 2022 and accounted for the maximum share of more than 48.95 % of the overall revenue. The increase in the use of wearable technology, such as fitness bands and AR/VR headsets, can be credited to the high share of this segment. Many manufacturers, like Garmin Ltd., Omron, Apple Inc., and Nemaura, concentrate on creating gadgets that deliver data, which incorporates both clinical and non-clinical information. For instance, Nemaura’s sugarBEAT Wearable Technology dispenses with the daily finger-prick calibration process by enabling frequent blood glucose monitoring in diabetic patients.

The healthcare segment is anticipated to register the second-fastest growth rate from 2022 to 2030. The increasing application scope of wearable devices in the pharma sector will support segment growth over the forecast period. Through digital health tech, doctors can connect with their clients via telehealth solutions and phone applications. This allows medical professionals to monitor patients virtually. Advancements in VR and AR are gaining significant attraction in the health segment. VR technology is leveraged in medical practice to assist in surgical training and procedures.

Regional Insights

North America held the highest share of the global revenue due to the increased focus on health and fitness amid the pandemic and the easy availability & adoption of technology among consumers across the region.

North America dominated the global industry in 2022 and accounted for the maximum share of 33.80 % of the overall revenue followed by the Asia Pacific and Europe regions. High technology adoption and the ease with which newly released items are made available have been major growth drivers for the regional market. Devices that promote health, facilitate preventive treatment and help manage ongoing ailments are in greater demand in the region. According to the National Library of Medicine, 30% of Americans use wearable medical technology. The Asia Pacific region is expected to register the fastest growth rate from 2022 to 2030.

China is expected to be one of the most important countries in the Asia Pacific regional market on account of a rise in the number of vendors providing products with competitive features. The demand for wearable technology in the country is also expected to be driven by the lower costs of smartphones, which are anticipated to fall further in the near future. The increasing demand from various target customer groups enables manufacturers to reduce product prices with improved production volumes.

The India wearable market exited 2022 with a strong 46.9% YoY (year-over-year) growth, as shipments reached 100 million units according to the recent data from the International Data Corporation’s (IDC) India Monthly Wearable Device Tracker. 4Q22 (Oct-Dec) saw 25.2 million unit shipments registering a 16.5% YoY growth. The second half of 4Q22 saw a cyclical dip in demand, following high shipments in the first half. The earwear category remained flat, while smartwatches grew by 73.6% YoY in 4Q22.

The second half of the year (Jul-Dec), accounting for more than 60% of the annual shipments, saw several new product launches ahead of the festival season combined with offers/discounts across channels. The share of smartwatches grew from 17.9% in 2021 to 30.7% in 2022.

Smartwatch (inclusive of basic and advanced) shipments were 30.7 million in 2022, a growth of 151.3% YoY. The Smartwatch ASPs continue to decline, at US $42.5 (vs US $61.2 a year ago). Basic smartwatches continue to dominate with a 95.5% share, growing by 158.0% annually in 2022. Wristbands declined for another year with -73.2% YoY, with shipments dropping to half a million.

 

Industry

Some of the prominent players operating in the global wearable technology market include: Apple Inc., Adidas AG, Alphabet Inc., SAMSUNG (South Korea), Garmin Ltd. (US), Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. (China), Apple Inc. (US), Sony Corporation (Japan), HTC Corporation (Taiwan), Fitbit, Inc. (US), Xiaomi Global Community (China), ADIDAS AG (Germany), Nike, Inc. (US), LG Electronics. (South Korea), Motorola Solutions, Inc. (US), Fossil Group, Inc. (US), Google LLC (US), Polar Electro (Finland), Withings (France), Michael Kors (US), CASIO AMERICA, INC. (US), TomTom International BV (Netherlands), and ASUSTeK Computer Inc. (Taiwan), Garmin Ltd.

 

Several companies are focused on launching the latest wearable technology products like smart helmets, smart glasses, smart rings, and more in the market. Furthermore, they are engaged in partnerships, mergers & acquisitions to improve their wearable technology.

 

 

Industry News

For instance, in June 2021, Garmin Ltd. launched its new smartwatch, Forerunner 55. The watch is equipped with GPS technology, allowing users to track their distance, time, pace, speed, and heart rate information.

In March 2022, Xiaomi Corp. launched the latest Xiaomi Watch S1 Series. It has 117 fitness modes and tracks blood oxygen saturation, health monitoring, and sleep monitoring. It has magnetic charge capabilities along with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant.

 

The Future of Wearable Technology

As technology advances, wearable devices are becoming more sophisticated and diverse. The integration of artificial intelligence (AI), 5G connectivity, and improved battery life will fuel the development of even more advanced wearables. In the future, we can expect wearables to be seamlessly integrated into clothing, accessories, and even embedded under the skin.

Conclusion

The wearable technology market is a dynamic and transformative force that is reshaping the way we interact with technology and improving our overall well-being. From smartwatches to AR glasses, wearables are seamlessly integrating into various aspects of our lives, enabling us to stay connected, active, and informed. As wearable technology continues to evolve, we can look forward to a future where these devices become even more powerful, versatile, and integral to our daily routines. The possibilities are endless, and the wearable revolution is just getting started!

 

 

 

References and Resources also include:

https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/wearable-technology-market#:~:text=The%20global%20wearable%20technology%20market,consumers%20is%20driving%20industry%20growth.

About Rajesh Uppal

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