New opportunities in the $24 billion wearable technology industry


30-07-2015

IDTechEx Research forecasts that the wearable technology market will rise from $24.2 billion in 2015 to three times that size in ten years - creating a market of $74 billion in 2025.

 

In addition to increasing demand for existing enabling components, this provides a large opportunity for new technologies as electronics move from bulky devices to ones that can conform to the wearer.

The IDTechEx Wearable USA event (Santa Clara, Nov 18-19) is a unique international conference and exhibition that focuses on wearable technology requirements from big brands and industries, in addition to technology innovations which are enabling new products to meet those demands.

Voice of the customer

Attended by 719 people and over 30 exhibitors in 2014, this is the largest show in the US covering the topic with speakers covering progress in wearable technology for fashion, healthcare, sportswear, enterprise and military applications.

As traditional consumer electronics devices begin to saturate, new markets are being explored and foremost among them is wearable technology. However, wearable gadgets thus far are mixed in terms of their success, consisting usually of bulky electronics with many limitations, power being one of them.

This event looks at what is really wanted by featuring end users discussing needs and progress from multiple verticals. It covers the new innovations from materials to components that offer flexibility, elasticity, transparency, longevity and other benefits, covering big research breakthroughs and seismic changes globally. Additionally, learn how the big OEM brands see the market evolving with added business intelligence from analysts.

Spotting the opportunities in the hype

Wearable technology is one of the most popular trends. There has been a 10-fold increase in internet search interest since the beginning of 2013, with about $1 billion invested in wearables in 2014 alone. This level of investment will rise as the largest companies in the world compete for a slice of a market.

IDTechEx Research maintains an extremely comprehensive database of over 1200 companies across the entire wearables ecosystem. By constantly updating and growing this resource, it allows IDTechEx Research analysts to observe trends and identify opportunities for growth in this highly competitive field, which are highlighted at the event. The chart above gives the 2015 split of wearable technology devices by revenue, excluding basic “infotainment” devices such as basic headphones and electronic watches.

Wrist-worn devices (under “Advanced Infotainment”) are currently the most popular and publicized area in wearable technology. Smart watches in particular have been extremely prominent in the media, culminating in the eagerly anticipated Watch from Apple. Smart wristbands (such as the Fitbit Flex and Jawbone Up) have also become increasingly popular, with the market for fitness trackers being one of the key growth sectors. These devices are an extremely promising prospect for developers; they contribute to the ever growing need to counter the global obesity epidemic, without requiring lengthy and costly clinical trials. Therefore, the market has become extremely competitive and the incorporation of a broader range of more reliable and accurate sensors is key to making a device stand out from the ever-growing crowd.

Convergence to the wrist is a sensible first step for developers given the limitations in truly flexible and integrated electronics. The electric watch has been around for nearly 60 years, and typically has form factor and specifications which fit well with many traditional electronic devices. However, there is a huge number of emerging technologies which will allow for developers to get creative as the industry expands beyond the wrist. Wearable sensors are becoming increasingly versatile and mobile, energy harvesting and storage systems are becoming smaller and more efficient and both e-textiles are beginning to emerge.

What’s coming

In most cases, the way forward is to abandon the 100 year old "components in a box" approach of almost all manufacturers of wearable technology today. Instead, we shall use structural electronics where smart materials are key. This will be a cornucopia for manufacturers of electronic and electrically functional materials that can be made into structures using those increasingly crucial intermediate materials, indeed IDTechEx Research expects that in 2025 $25 billion will be spent on formulations and intermediate materials, of the $74 billion wearable technology industry.

The full ecosystem

The event provides the perfect platform for meeting other players to assess the state of play, the emerging technology options coming into the landscape and conduct extensive business development and networking. Aimed at the full ecosystem from fashion brands to material providers, attendees will uniquely learn about the unmet needs and opportunities in this sector.

About IDTechEx

IDTechEx guides your strategic business decisions through its Research and Events services, helping you profit from emerging technologies. IDTechEx Events provide an analytical, commercial outlook, taking into account market requirements, competitive technologies and development roadmaps. Attendees are presented with the full, diverse range of technologies but the main thrust is always on end user needs and commercialization strategies. For more information see www.IDTechEx.com/wusa

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Contact IDTechEx

 Events: Chris Clare, Event Director
c.clare@IDTechEx.com
 UK: +44 (0)1223 812300

Research: Alison Lewis, Marketing Manager Reports
a.lewis@IDTechEx.com
UK: +44 (0)1223 812300

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IDTechEx works at the forefront of technology innovation; assessing new technologies and their application by providing market research and intelligence services to our clients. Our clients use our insights to help make strategic business decisions and grow their organisations. We have provided these services since 1999 to clients around the world.

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