Wearable tech on the rise, but ‘not yet mainstream’

Written by Hannah McGrath
12/02/2020

Wearable technology - such as FitBit and Apple Watch - is maturing rapidly, but remains out of the mainstream, according to GlobalData.

The data and analytics company forecasted an compound annual growth rate of 19 per cent between 2018 and 2023, with smartwatches the top selling wearable item.

The wearable devices market is set to be worth $62.82 billion by 2025, according to a report from Meticulous Research.

As for revenue, fitness trackers as are losing out to smart watches according to the analysis, however daily usage rates for such devices are on the rise in mature economies.

Google acquired of Fitbit in 2019, consolidating the company’s foothold in the US healthcare market, as technology begins to integrate standard health monitoring and wellbeing regimes.

According to the analysis, emerging markets, especially in Asia Pacific (APAC), present the strongest growth opportunities for wearables. But in the key markets of China and India, global leaders face increased competition from domestic manufacturers.

Rupantar Guha, senior analyst of thematic research at GlobalData, said: “The demand for fitness trackers is growing in APAC, while their sales in North America and Europe are declining.

“Smartwatches are also gaining traction, driven by the emergence of low-cost Chinese products. In terms of regulations, APAC is still far from adopting the EU’s GDPR standard, which makes the region an attractive market for wearable vendors keen to exploit customer data.”

Meanwhile hearables - wireless, in-ear headphones - and smart glasses are gaining traction. The in-ear devices are expected to exceed smartwatch performance for health monitoring services. However, high cost, privacy concerns and limited use cases are styming adoption of smart glasses.

Guha explained: “Wearables collect significant amounts of personal data, which makes them targets for regulators. Vendors with transparent data policies will gain consumer trust and this will, in turn, drive sales of their devices.”