CAGR by Sensor Type, 2015-2025 [Source: IDTechEx]

Think about it for a minute. If the numbers of cars sold each year grows by a certain number of units, the number of tires sold will increase by four times that amount. That’s because each car needs four tires (at least). The same thing is happening with wearable Health Tech devices, but the multipliers are even bigger. A typical device can have many different types of sensors just to determine location and movement. Optical sensors can measure everything from heartbeats to relative blood pressure, and possibly even the chemical make-up of the wearer’s blood. As wearable devices evolve, they are adding more features to measure more biometric data with greater precision and reliability. And all of this takes more sensors.

It should come as no surprise that the sensor market for wearable devices is continuing to grow, and grow rapidly. The latest forecast from IDTechEx projects that 3 billion sensors will be sold for wearable devices in 2025. One of the fastest growing segments is for stretch and pressure sensors, which are essential for detecting motion of individual body parts among other applications. IDTechEx predicts that this segment will have a breath-taking 40% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next 10 years. New chemical sensors will grow nearly as rapidly at 32% CAGR. Even the relatively “boring” inertial motion sensors — the slowest growing in this forecast — will continue to increase at nearly a 10% CAGR, which many other markets would look at with envy.

The report also makes another interesting point. At this point, 98% of the sensors used in wearable Health Tech devices have been adapted from other applications such as smartphones or automotive applications. These are high volume markets that have driven the prices for these sensors down to commodity levels. IDTechEx predicts that by 2025, nearly half of the sensors used in wearable devices will be designed specifically for those applications. It is clear that we’re on a trajectory where we will have smarter devices capable of tracking more information about our health and fitness.