With big players such as Apple, Motorola and Samsung entering the wearable technology market, thereby increasing the awareness of these new, innovative devices, global demand for these wearables have increased rapidly over the past 5 years. And the growth is expected to increase even further, with Apple smartwatches kick-starting the demand for wearables.
Potential growth in the wearable technology industry
Transparency Market Research, a leading United States based market research and analysis firm, indicated in a report on the global wearable technology market, that the industry was worth USD$750 million in 2012 and it is expected to rise by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40.8% through to 2018 and reach an estimated valuation of USD$5.8 billion. Additionally, the number of wearable units shipped annually is forecasted to increase from 33 million units shipped in 2015 to 148 million units shipped in 2019.
The wearable technology market can be segmented into four main groups, namely fitness and wellness, infotainment, healthcare and medical, and industrial and military. A major driving factor of the global wearable technology market is the growing awareness among the public regarding their overall well-being, as the medical and healthcare end-use sector had a dominant 35.1% share in the industry. This is followed by the fitness and wellness sector.
Smartwatches leading the wearable product category
Business Insider, an American business, celebrity and technology news website, indicated in a report that the smartwatch category will lead the wearable technology industry, and rise by a CAGR of 41% over the next five years. Smartwatches are expected to account 59% of total wearable devices shipped in 2015 and the share is forecasted to increase to over 70% of shipments by 2019. Kick-starting and fuelling the demand and growth of the smartwatch category would be the Apple Watch, which will is expected to account for 40% of the smartwatch shipments in 2015 and peak at a 48% share in 2017.
Users of smartwatches around the world
As a large proportion of people in the United States of America and Canada are tech-savvy, health conscious and affluent enough to purchase and use wearable technology devices, North America is expected to dominate the global wearable technology market, with an estimated 43% share by 2019. However, the lack of such consumers is hampering the growth of the wearable technology market in Asia Pacific, Latin America and Africa.
Issues within the consumer wearables category
Due to the short lifetime of many current smartwatch devices, with an average of 2-3 days usage before a charge is needed, with the exception of the MiBand by Xiaomi and Pebble Watch by Pebble, the devices require longer battery lifespans to become more attractive and useful. Other barriers include a small screen size and clunky style and lack of robust functionalities before it can drive adoption.
With greater demands to improve the overall well-being of individuals, the wearable technology industry is an up and rising market, and along with it the quantified self market. And if you own a smart watch and are actively tracking the number of steps you are walking or counting your calorie intake, you are part of the quantified self movement. Apart from individuals, companies are also quick to realise that there are benefits in using these wearable technologies to gain better employee and consumer insights, which can in turn increase their revenue. Given the upward trend in demand for wearables and benefits that people can receive from using them, this interest would unlikely be simply be just a passing fad.
Zensorium | A Wearable Tech Lifestyle (Infographic)
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Business Insider | Smartwatches Are The Breakout Category That Will Finally Ignite The Wearable Computing Market
PR Newswire | Wearable Technology Market is Expected to be USD 5.8 billion by 2018 at CAGR of 40.8% From 2012 to 2018: Transparency Market Research
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