Canadian Underwriter

Shake-ups expected in sectors of wearable technology market: report

July 11, 2016   by Canadian Underwriter

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Despite the total core wearable technology market growing to more than US$150 billion by 2026, independent market research company IDTechEx predicts “shake-ups in several prominent sectors, with commoditization hitting hard.”

Businessman uses smart watch and phone.

IDTechEx said in its Wearable Technology 2016-2026 report, released on Friday, that the market will be worth more than US$30 billion in 2016, with over US$11 billion of that coming from “newly popular” products such as smartwatches and fitness trackers.

According to the report, wearable technology will grow in three stages: 10% annually to over US$40 billion in 2017, then accelerating to 23% through to over US$100 billion by 2023, before slowing to 11% to reach over US$150 billion by 2026.

“Fuelled by a frenzy of hype, funding and global interest, wearable technology was catapulted to the top of the agenda for companies spanning the entire value chain and world,” IDTechEx said in a press release. “This investment manifested in hundreds of new products and extensive tailored R&D investigating relevant technology areas. However, the fickle nature of hype is beginning to show, and many companies are now progressing beyond discussing ‘wearables’ to focus on the detailed and varied sub-sectors.”

Global wearable technology forecast summary, including 39 forecast lines covering all prominent products today (e.g. smartwatches, fitness trackers, smart eyewear, smart clothing, medical devices and more), but also to many incumbent products (e.g. headphones, hearing aids, basic electronic watches and more). Source: IDTechEx Research report Wearable Technology 2016-2026.

The report includes analysis and forecasting across 39 categories of wearable technology, segmented by industry, product type (e.g. smartwatches, fitness trackers, smart eyewear, smart clothing, medical devices, etc.) and location on the body (head, ear, eyes, body (torso), arms, wrist, legs and feet, implantable and multi-location). It was compiled after three years of research by expert analysts.

In a unique aspect to this report, the release said, IDTechEx outlines a long-term case for standalone wearable communication devices as a “future evolution of the smartphone. Today, most smartwatches and many fitness trackers still rely, at least partially, on a connection to a smartphone hub. The ubiquity of the smartphone as a central platform has been a key enabler for growth in wearables so far, but all of the largest manufacturers now look to a future, where the hub itself may become wearable.”