Wearable Tech World Feature Article
January 22, 2013

Wearable Technology - The Next Mobility Market is Booming!


It appears that the research community has caught up with the coming wave in wearable technology. A number of reports have emerged recently that project healthy growth for this next generation of mobility. We can follow them up as well with new, just published research from Transparency Market Research, "Wearable Technology Market - Global Scenario, Trends, Industry Analysis, Size, Share and Forecast, 2012- 2018" (yes, it’s a mouthful of a title).

The wearable technology market is still in the early stage of evolution, but it has demonstrated significant growth and adoption in various end user market segments, in particular fitness, wellness, healthcare generally and medical monitoring more specifically. The military has invested significantly in wearable technology, and though we don’t think of military-driven wearable tech as a part of our more accessible business and consumer markets, it is never the less a vital piece of the equation.

More often than not what ultimately emerges on the business and consumer side will have found its origin in military designs. Defense-focused vendors derive real revenue from the military here and thus count as an overall market segment. As well, some military inspired wearable tech will materialize by way of the gaming industry – which will reproduce military gear for serious gamers.

Wearable fitness and wellness products include smart clothing, activity monitors, sleep sensors and other such tech. The infotainment segment includes smart watches, smart glasses and heads-up displays, among others. Products such as continuous glucose monitors (CGM), drug delivery, and wearable patches are predominantly used in healthcare and the medical sector. Hand worn terminals, heads-up displays and other such products are being used in the industrial and military settings.

The Numbers

Transparency‘s report claims that the global wearable technology market stood at $750 million in 2012. This is in line with other estimates. Transparency anticipates that the global market will reach $5.8 billion in 2018, which represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40.8 percent from 2012 to 2018. That number is within range of other estimates though it is on the high end of the range. That said, it is entirely possible that we will see the market hit this goal in 2018 – with the major ramp up in device sales and revenue will happen towards the latter end of the review period between 2017 and 2018.

North America, according to the report, is expected to maintain the lead position in the market, which Transparency projects will be a significant 43.0 percent of the global wearable technology revenue share in 2018. North America will be followed by Europe, with Japan and South Korea owning the remaining major regional markets. Europe and the Asia Pacific region will collectively account for about 49 percent of the market revenue by 2018. These global regional breakdowns are in line with other estimates as well.

Among all the wearable technology end use segments, the healthcare and medical segment held the largest revenue share, followed by fitness and wellness in 2012. That is expected to remain the case in 2013 but will soon begin to shift. The healthcare and medical segment accounted for about 35.1 percent of the overall wearable technology market in 2012 - primarily due to an increase in diabetes within the larger population, and generally because of the rising and aging population. This market segment will likely remain unchanged in market size. By 2018 however, the infotainment segment is expected to surpass the fitness and wellness segment, driven primarily by anticipated robust growth of smart watches and smart glasses.

Factors that include high price and lack of consumer awareness are likely to hinder market growth in the early range of the report’s assessment period. Wearable technology is driven primarily by mobility and by factors like compactness, portability and ease of use, along with increasingly valuable multi-functionality and increasingly smart applications these products can execute. The increasing adoption of such technically advanced products among millennials, coupled with greatly increasing demand for real time and actionable data will also fuel the growth of the wearable technology market. 

Just how interesting is all of this wearable tech? To get a very interesting picture and perspective check out this gesture-based, eye-tracking, hand-sensing tech noted by TMC CEO Rich Terhani – it’s found in a Hyundai of all things!




Edited by Stefania Viscusi




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