Today, wearable tech is more popular than ever. That trend is projected to continue in the coming years. GlobalData estimates that the wearables market will grow by 137 percent by 2024. The industry is currently worth about $27 billion and is projected to hit $64 billion.
That shouldn’t come as a surprise since consumers are eager to get their hands on the latest and greatest wearable tech. Still, it’s an impressive figure considering that wearables still have plenty of room for improvement.
Increased Health Awareness
The COVID-19 pandemic has put personal health at the forefront of everyone’s minds. That’s convenient for the wearables industry since most gadgets include health monitoring features.
GlobalData notes that the sector’s upcoming growth can largely be attributed to increased health awareness sparked by the pandemic. Today’s consumers are seeking new ways to get in touch with their health. Wearables are the perfect way to do so.
Tina Deng, a senior medical devices analyst at GlobalData, says, “The pandemic greatly increased the awareness of wearable devices as their use cases increased.”
She adds, “This has resulted in an increase in device innovation as more companies race to develop new ways to cash in and help limit the spread of the virus.”
A prime example of this is the Oura Ring. It is a smart ring that monitors the overall health and readiness of its wearer by analyzing key metrics. One of them is body temperature. As such, researchers found that the Oura Ring is able to detect COVID-19 symptoms before they show up. That ability landed Oura a partnership with the NBA as it provided every player in its Orlando “bubble” with one of the smart rings.
Of course, that’s hardly the only way wearable devices are helping consumers monitor their health. Tech companies like Apple and Samsung are scrambling to add innovative health-tracking features to their wearables. Things like sleep tracking and EKG monitoring apps are giving consumers new ways to analyze their health.
Deng says, “Recent advances are providing value for healthcare with a focus on diagnosis, treatment, monitoring, and prevention. These advantages are felt through the entire healthcare value chain with benefits including personalization, early diagnosis, remote patient monitoring, adherence to medication, information libraries, and better decision-making, while reducing health care costs.”
Going Back to Go Forward
Interestingly, the wearable market’s growth won’t be starting just yet. Due to the pandemic’s economic implications, the smartwatch segment is projected to drop by about 10 percent in 2020.
Deng says, “Compared with wearables with specific medical purposes, smartwatches for general population are more vulnerable to the pandemic-related economic recession. Most consumers do not currently see significant value in smartwatches, primarily because most of the functionality available on smartwatches can already be found on smartphones.”
Simply put, smartwatches aren’t seen as essential gadgets when consumers are on a tight budget. With millions out of work and millions more struggling to pay the bills, a fancy new smartwatch isn’t a top priority.
Even so, the first quarter of 2020 saw global smartwatch shipments increase by 20 percent. Most of that growth occurred thanks to the launch of the latest Apple Watch.
The rest of 2020 will likely be poor for the smartwatch segment. Fortunately, it is projected to start recovering in 2021, according to GlobalData. There is plenty of room for growth in the smartwatch world, so companies should rebound nicely once some of the financial pressure on consumers is eased.