Wearable Market Is More Than Watches

Create: 03/17/2016 - 13:00

The wearable market is trendy, innovative — and it’s not just about watches. The segment is poised for enormous growth — up 38.2 percent to 110 million units by the end of 2016 — market research firm International Data Corp (IDC) reported this week.

According to a press release, “an expanding lineup of vendors combined with fast-growing consumer awareness and demand will generate double-digit growth throughout the 2015-2020 forecast period, culminating in shipments of 237.1 million wearable devices in 2020.”

Smart watches will account initially for a quarter of those devices, and make up one-third of them by 2020. But the market incorporates more than what some view as vanity devices, some with real revenue potential for solution providers. 

Medical devices will likely make up a good portion of the segment as well. Research and Markets recently reported the wearable medical device market is projected to grow at a very healthy 21.3 percent to generate sales of $41.3 billion by 2020. While some of those devices are similar to watches and use wristbands, others employ a type of light adhesive that adheres to the skin. A few are even being incorporated into the shoe insole. Each provides a means to monitor a patient’s health or one’s own well-being — to help lose weight, reach fitness goals or improve sleep. Wearable medical devices integrate capabilities such as wireless data transmission and real-time feedback and assessment, which are often part of the service solution provider’s portfolio. 

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And don’t forget the other components that help to create wearables, such as batteries. Vendors such as Ascent have designed lithium polymer batteries that are small and available in custom shapes with high charge and discharge abilities. In addition to batteries, other electronic components include low-power processors, sensors, memory, connectivity, displays, application specific integrated circuits, microphones, oscillators, connectors and power management ICs — each of which has IT channels. In fact, Research and Markets predicts the global wearable electronic components market to exceed $17.47 billion by 2024. 

It’s a good bet then that the wearable market can provide solution providers quite a bit more opportunity than simply in smart watches. However, smart watches have largely driven the popularity of the category, but today’s manufacturers are introducing products to be integrated into the next generation of products that are beyond the wrist. Get in their channel, provide the latest products and services (who else is going to deal with all that data?) and tap into the potential of this growing segment. 

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Jennifer Bosavage

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