“The era of wearables is definitely here and confirmed by large consumer adoption," said Jérôme Mouly, senior Technology & Market analyst and business developer at Yole Développement (Yole). “Whether wrist-worn, head-worn and hearable, body-worn or smart clothing, we estimate the market to reach US$97.9 billion by 2025, with an 11.2% CAGR from 2019 to 2025”.
In this context, Yole investigates disruptive wearable technologies and related markets in depth.
The Wearables in Consumer and Medical Applications 2020 report gives a detailed analysis of the wearable technologies and delivers an overview of emerging wearable functionalities and related sensors.
Including market shares, trends and forecasts, this study points out global wearable system market trends, competitive forces and dynamics, and market drivers. This report also provides an overview of the main players at the system and sensor level of the supply chain, with market shares.
This analysis offers a relevant application overview for consumers and medical wearables. It describes which sensors are used in which types of wearable systems and identifies new functions and related sensors and technology requirements.
What are the economic and technological challenges of the wearables industry? What are the key drivers? Who are the suppliers to watch, and what innovative technologies are they working on?
Yole presents today its vision of the wearables industry for consumer and medical applications.
As analyzed by Yole’s team in the new Wearables in Consumer and Medical Applications 2020 report, wearables are even considered the new wave of consumer electronics, seen as the growth driver for smartphone makers whose market has now reached a mature level and a low single-digit growth rate.
In parallel, the fundraising amount for wearables in the last 5 years has reached $2.6 billion, highlighting again the strong interest in wearables.
"Two main applications are the reason, namely fitness and health," Mouly said. "If athletes quickly adopted connected bracelets to track their performance, health applications quickly took over with a wider public using smartwatches as well as earbuds, the latter showing great interest.
"This success is explained by the need for quantified self, allowing people to monitor their health parameters in a preventive approach against the continued prevalence of chronic diseases and driven by a transformation of health systems to fight against cost pressure”.
As a result, adding functions to wearables has now become essential to meet the needs of the greatest number of users.
These functions can both be linked to the use of systems for greater comfort and interactivity, to capture vital parameters or even environmental data. With the addition of artificial intelligence, the goal is to merge all the information, aggregating it with the final goal of predicting and assisting in decision making.
Wearables have not only aroused the interest of consumer electronics players but also attracted the attention of medical device companies, especially in this period of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thus, wearables with healthcare functions gain momentum with the pandemic to monitor vital signs. However, incorporating medical functions does not make a wearable medical device.
Consumer wearable companies mainly integrate functions such as fitness and wellness. Medical wearable companies, for their part, focus on patient monitoring and diagnosis.
The key criteria for these medical wearables will be the reliability of the systems and accuracy of the data they generate.
The use of medical wearables such as minimally invasive CGM sensors for people with diabetes replaces measurements via glucometers by providing ease of use and comfort to the patients.
In another example an increasing use of body patches allows hospitals to send patients home earlier and monitor them remotely. Today, medical wearables represent about 20% of wearable revenues.
However, the lines are becoming blurred between medical wearables recognized as approved medical devices and consumer wearables integrating health functions.
“Developments of biosensor platforms integrated into wearables are now achieving medical-grade performance and are integrated into smartwatches, as well as more recently into earbuds,” Mouly said. “But in this battle, consumer wearables offer affordable system prices and larger volume manufacturing opportunities that could benefit to large-scale clinical studies with mass data generation."
Greater permeability between the medical sector and consumer healthcare with the notion of over-the-counter sales intensifies the competition between consumer and medical players.
Manufacturers of consumer electronic systems have the largest market shares. The wearable report from Yole also analyzes the Top players.
With no surprise, these companies are smartphone manufacturers. At the top, Apple dominates the market.
Therefore, with 39% of the global wearable market shares, Apple is quite unreachable by competition far away. Samsung and Xiaomi are the challengers with respectively 7% and 6% market shares.