Wearable technology refers to embedding electronic and technological innovations in things we wear on a daily basis. They can be anything from a headband to a smartwatch, from clothes to shoes and even a proposed smart wig or technology embedded in the skin. These routinely worn objects are enabled with mobile computing and wireless networking, turning them into connected devices that can provide features such as monitoring, computing and many more.
Major Segments and players:
Various segments in which wearable technology is growing include:
According to a report by Transparency market research, the Healthcare and Medical segment held the largest revenue share and accounted for about 35.1% of the entire wearable technology market in 2012. The report cites that major reasons for this include the rise in aging population and an increase in people with diabetes. Fitness and wellness was the second major sector with a surge in activity trackers.
This was closely followed by the infotainment segment. However, by 2018, the Infotainment segment is expected to surpass the fitness and wellness segment driven by robust growth of smart watches and smart glasses.
There is a lot of research going on into forecasting the scope of the growing wearable technology. Some of the findings from the major reports on this are listed below.
The report by Transparency market research predicts that the global wearable technology will reach USD 5.8 Bn in 2018, up from a valuation of USD 750.0 Mn in 2012. This means a compound annual growth rate of 40.8% from 2012 to 2018. Further, North America will maintain its lead position with a share of 43.0% of the global wearable technology revenue in 2018, followed by Europe. Major factors contributing to this are a high adoption rate and better consumer awareness in the region. Europe and Asia Pacific region will collectively account for about 49% of the market revenue by 2018.
Another report published earlier this year by Juniper research cites that the retail revenue from smart wearable devices, including smart watches and glasses, will reach USD 19 Bn by 2018 compared with USD 1.4 Bn this year driven by the growing demand for these devices and their high price points.
A report published by Markets and Markets further claims that the market was worth USD 2.7 Bn in revenue in 2012 and is expected to reach USD 8.3 Bn in 2018, growing at an estimated CAGR of 17.71% from 2013 to 2018. Consumer application sector had the largest market revenue at USD 2,367.99 Mn, while enterprise and industrial application amounted for the least market share with revenue of USD 73.04 Mn as of 2012. However, the report forecasts that the enterprise and industrial application will witness the highest CAGR of 21.14% during 2013-2018.
As evident from these varied predictions, the market for wearable technology is in a nascent stage and is quite volatile. It still remains to be seen how the innovative wearable device makers will be able to meet the customer’s growing needs both in terms of a unique product and pricing, which will be a major contributing factor in the growth of this sector.
The market is yet to take off in India both in terms of companies manufacturing wearable smart devices and customers willing to use them. Some categories that are currently available in the country include smart watches and healthcare wearables.
However the sector is seeing some traction in terms of generating interest in investors such as Intel Capital, who expressed plans to invest in the wearables. Hyderabad-based startup Ineda Systems, which is developing a chip specifically for wearable devices, also raised investment from Sanjay Jha, former chairman and CEO of Motorola Mobility and Lip-Bu Tan, chairman of Walden International and CEO of Cadence Design Systems.
Wearable technology today:
Here is an infographic view of some examples of wearable technology that are already creating a buzz in the market.
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