A few years ago, you could strap a hand-soldered circuit board onto a wrist strap and grab headlines. Fortunately, the feeding frenzy over wearable technology has subsided somewhat, but that doesn’t mean that this maturing industry has stalled.
To the contrary, a recent report from IDTechEx by analyst James Hayward shows that the wearables market is alive and well. The “hype” cycle appears to have peaked in 2015, but overall industry revenues have more than doubled in the five years from 2014 to 2019. Hayward estimates that total revenues for 2019 will exceed $50 billion.
Health tech devices are playing a major role in this growth. Continuous glucose monitor (CGM) systems and hearables are two of the categories cited as drivers of this growth. The report also looks to electronic skin patches and smart garments as potential drivers of continued growth in the near term. Head-mounted wearables — augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) — are also gaining traction in the marketplace; while they are contributing to the overall revenue, many companies have a long way to go before they will recoup the massive investments they made in developing their products.
The bottom line appears to be that revenues can be expect to continue to grow, and that innovation is likely to proceed at its familiar rapid pace. Many of the individual market segments are reaching a mature and more stable point, while new technologies continue to appear with the potential to create disruption in many existing markets.