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Wearable Technology Forecasts 2021-2031

A comprehensive review of market opportunities across all wearable electronic devices, from smartwatches to skin patches, AR, VR & MR to hearables, smart clothing to smart eyewear, and more

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This report is the culmination of IDTechEx's research in wearable technology over the past decade. Throughout this time, wearable technology has undergone a turbulent journey, with a meteoric rise in hype, accompanied by billions of dollars of funding, tens of thousands of new patents filed, hundreds of new companies, thousands of products, and tens of billions of dollars of new revenue generated. IDTechEx analysts have followed the industry throughout this period, documenting its progress by collecting data, interviewing hundreds of companies, attending and organising events around the world, and contributing to the ecosystem throughout. This report summarises IDTechEx's findings over this time, along with the latest conclusions and outlook. It provides detailed overviews of each product type across the broad and varied wearable technology product ecosystem, complete with historic revenue and sales volume data back to 2010 and market forecasts from 2021-2031.
A key part of the 2021 edition of this report studies the impact of COVID-19 on this sector. The many varied product types and industries covered in the report each experienced many different drivers and challenges as a result of the global pandemic. Some sectors boomed, aided by emergency regulation changes which allowed products to be launched faster. Themes such as remote patient monitoring, telehealth and digital health, and related areas experienced an acceleration in growth as a result. However, other sectors suffered more negative impacts; delays in the introduction of other non-pandemic specific regulatory changes that would benefit new wearable products (e.g. OTC hearing aids), point-of-sale or customer access challenges caused by limitations on in-person retail or doctor visits, supply chain disruption and other factors.
The report details the significant success that wearable technology products have seen in the last decade, with a total market worth nearly $80bn in 2020, having now tripled in terms of annual revenue since 2014. This historic growth has been driven by product types including smartwatches, hearables (particularly TWS headphones), skin patches (such as continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices and other medical patient monitoring devices), virtual reality (VR) headsets and many others. Other sectors are still in earlier stages of technology and market development, such as smart clothing, mixed and augmented reality (AR & MR), OTC hearing aids or smart contact lenses. Wearable technology products span many different categories, markets, technologies and levels of maturity.
The report looks at each of these sectors in detail, providing assessments and market data across all of the key players, technologies and in the current themes for each product area. In assessing 55 separate product types, the IDTechEx report is unique in its breadth of coverage across all wearable electronic products. The report is developed for players throughout the value chain for these products, from materials and component suppliers, to integrators and manufacturers, to OEMs and end users, and finally to investors, policy makers and regulators. It serves as a resource to provide the latest market data across each of these broad market sectors, backed up by a decade of historic data for reference, and with accompanying discussion of key trends and market forecasts.
The report contains details of 55 forecast lines across five key sectors, as shown. The objective behind this report was to provide as much data about the sales volumes and revenues for wearable products, and thus includes historic data back to 2010 and forecasts from 2021-2031.
Image source: IDTechEx
The best way to prepare for what will come next in wearables is to learn the lessons of history and to track the key innovation, product and market trends which exist in each of the product areas within this diverse product category. The report addresses the broad spectrum of products by addressing each sub-sector in its own dedicated chapter. These chapters provide the key summaries and overviews from their own separate research reports, representing thousands of companies that have been covered and hundreds of interviews over the last decade. Sitting as the flagship report on top of this extensive body of work, Wearable Technology Forecasts 2021-2031 summarizes the latest and critical information about each of these industries to provide a full overview of the entire space.
2021 has been a year of ample opportunity across many of the sectors covered.
  • The market for smartwatches and fitness trackers boomed throughout the pandemic, with personal health becoming all the more important and users often incentivised to take care of their own health in a variety of ways. These devices are increasingly adding metrics closer to that of a medical device, from HR and HRV, to body temperature and ECG, and progressing towards metrics such as blood pressure and others in the not so distant future.
  • In virtual, augmented and mixed reality (VR, AR & MR), continued investment from some of the largest technology companies and investors in the world drives this sector forward. Historically backed by huge funding, and still far from net profit as an industry as a whole, there are nonetheless signs of success as user bases grow and application sectors become better defined and more mature.
  • Hearables exists as a mixture of the old and new; more mature markets such as wireless headphones and hearing aids are facing significant disruption from the newer generation of products. True wireless stereo (TWS) headphones have risen from nothing as recently as 2015 to capture 55% of the total revenue share for hearables in 2020. As this trend continues, the industry also looks to the new over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aid products which, once formalized as a product sector, could cause significant disruption to the more traditional product options in hearing loss. Add trends around increasing integration of biometric monitoring and this space sits as potentially the most dynamic and fastest changing of all the sectors we explore.
  • As a much more fragmented market with very different dynamics, smart clothing & e-textiles has undoubted longer term opportunity but also remaining short term challenges around industry standards, supply chain maturity, manufacturing scalability and product economics. This said, there are many successful companies, including startups and more established players which have carved out unique and profitable niches within this diverse spectrum of products. As a space that IDTechEx covers closely, including interviews with hundreds of companies across this value chain, this report provides a concise overview of the key product trends, technology development timelines and market opportunities.
  • Another diverse product category within wearables is electronic skin patches. With the majority of (but not all) applications centered on healthcare and wellness, this product sector is largely separated into broad therapeutic areas such as diabetes management, cardiology, and other sectors. It has boomed during the pandemic, with many companies seeing accelerated product roll-outs under emergency FDA exemptions, accelerating commercialization plans by as many as 2-3 years in some cases. With the sector already passing $9bn in 2020, some of the most emphatic and lasting success stories come within this key product sector.
  • Many more unique wearable technology product types exist beyond these broad sectors. From chest straps and wearable cameras, to newer ideas like smart contact lenses or electronic skin products, each is represented in the datasets and short sections within this report and IDTechEx's broader wearable technology subscriptions. As these sectors mature and develop, IDTechEx's dedicated team of analysts continually covers all of the important product and technology trends to provide high quality market research and technology scouting services across the sector.
IDTechEx's wearable technology reports and subscriptions have been used by hundreds of companies since the first report launched nearly a decade ago. This report acts as the broadest summary of all the major trends in wearable technology, with summaries of each major sector and centralised metrics for market data, patents, funding, product launches and interest for the sector as a whole. The team of analysts at IDTechEx continually profiles companies, attends events, consults with leading players and updates all of the key market and technology trend data across the entire portfolio, and this report provides a summary of that in one place.
Report Metrics Details
Historic Data 2010-2020
Forecast Period 2021-2031
Forecast Units Revenue, sales volumes, pricing
Segments Covered Smartwatches & fitness trackers; virtual, augmented and mixed reality (VR, AR & MR); hearables; smart clothing & e-textiles; electronic skin patches; other wearable products
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Table of Contents
1.1.Executive introduction
1.1.1.Shifting hype in wearables as markets evolve
1.1.2.Key metrics for wearables: Search terms
1.1.3.Key metrics for wearables: Funding trends
1.1.4.Key metrics for wearables: Patent trends
1.1.5.Historic revenue by sector: 2010-2020
1.1.6.Revenue forecast by sector, 2021-2031
1.2.Sector-by-sector conclusions and outlook
1.2.1.Revenue from smartwatches and activity trackers
1.2.2.Sales volumes from smartwatches and activity trackers
1.2.3.AR/VR/MR: Technical and Physical Trends
1.2.4.Market outlook for VR, AR & MR products
1.2.5.Key conclusions: Virtual reality
1.2.6.Key conclusions: Augmented and Mixed reality
1.2.7.Market outlook for hearables
1.2.8.Market outlook for smart clothing
1.2.9.Market outlook for electronic skin patches
1.2.10.Key report conclusions
1.2.11.References and further reading
2.1.1.Forecast methodology and assumptions
2.1.2.Combined revenue and volume:
2.1.3.Historic data 2010-2020 & forecast 2021-2031
2.1.4.Historic revenue by sector 2010-2020
2.1.5.Revenue forecast by sector 2021-2031
2.1.6.Summary of forecasts by sector
2.2.Historic market data (2010-2020) - product revenues
2.2.1.Historic data (2010-2020): Smartwatches and activity trackers
2.2.2.Historic data (2010-2020): Other fitness wearables
2.2.3.Historic data (2010-2020): Wearable cameras
2.2.4.Historic data (2010-2020): Smart clothing
2.2.5.Historic data (2010-2020): VR, AR & MR
2.2.6.Historic data (2010-2020): Electronic skin patches - diabetes management
2.2.7.Historic data (2010-2020): Electronic skin patches - cardiovascular monitoring
2.2.8.Historic data (2010-2020): Electronic skin patches - Others
2.2.9.Historic data (2010-2020): Hearables (consumer)
2.2.10.Historic data (2010-2020): Hearables (hearing health)
2.2.11.Historic data (2010-2020): Other wearables
2.3.Market forecast data (2021-2031) - product revenues
2.3.1.Market forecast (2021-2031): Smartwatches and activity trackers
2.3.2.Market forecast (2021-2031): Other fitness wearables
2.3.3.Market forecast (2021-2031): Wearable cameras
2.3.4.Market forecast (2021-2031): Smart clothing
2.3.5.Market forecast (2021-2031): VR, AR & MR
2.3.6.Market forecast (2021-2031): Electronic skin patches - diabetes management
2.3.7.Market forecast (2021-2031): Electronic skin patches - cardiovascular monitoring
2.3.8.Market forecast (2021-2031): Electronic skin patches - Others
2.3.9.Market forecast (2021-2031): Hearables (consumer)
2.3.10.Market forecast (2021-2031): Hearables (hearing health)
2.3.11.Market forecast (2021-2031): Other wearables
2.4.Historic market data (2010-2020) - product sales volumes
2.5.Market forecast data (2021-2031) - product sales volumes
2.6.Historic market data (2010-2020) - product pricing
2.7.Market forecast data (2021-2031) - product pricing
3.1.Introduction to wearables
3.1.2.Consideration by market vertical
3.1.3.Shifting hype in wearables as markets evolve
3.1.4.Key metrics for wearables: Search terms
3.1.5.Key metrics for wearables: Funding trends
3.1.6.Key metrics for wearables: Patent trends
3.1.7.Top 30 companies by number of active and pending patents in 2021
3.1.8.Top 30 companies by number patents filed in 2020
3.1.9.Historic market data by sector 2010-2020
3.1.10.Revenue forecast by sector 2021-2031
3.1.11.Total market size and outlook
3.2.Comments on industry trends
3.2.1.Trends are a unifying factor in a diverse industry
3.2.3.Innovation trends
3.2.4.Making electronics flexible: examples
3.2.5.The evolving user interface: examples
3.2.6.Increasing battery life: examples
4.1.Smartwatches and fitness trackers
4.1.1.Three main categories within the product landscape
4.1.2.Smartwatch vs fitness tracker
4.1.3.Overview: Revenue by product type
4.1.4.Overview: Sales volumes by product type
4.2.1.Players gravitate towards smartwatches
4.2.2.Smartwatches: Revenue by player
4.2.3.Example: Apple
4.2.4.Example: Fitbit
4.3.Sports watches
4.3.1.Sports watches
4.3.2.Sports watches: Revenue by player
4.4.Fitness trackers
4.4.1.Fitness trackers
4.4.2.On the wrist and beyond
4.4.3.Example: Jawbone
4.4.4.Example: Nike
4.4.5.Example: Xiaomi
4.4.6.The future of fitness trackers
5.1.Introduction: Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality
5.1.2.Nomenclature: VR, AR, MR, XR
5.1.3.Definitions and product categories
5.1.4.Related areas to VR: FPV, video glasses
5.1.5.Related areas to AR & MR: hearing glasses, camera glasses, thermal imaging
5.1.6.How much money is needed?
5.1.7.Applications in VR, AR & MR
5.2.VR: Discussion and Forecasts
5.2.2.Types of VR headset
5.2.3.VR: Historic device sales
5.2.4.VR: The road to mainstream for gaming
5.2.5.VR: Volume forecasts
5.2.6.VR: Revenue forecasts
5.2.7.Cyclic nature of hardware sales
5.2.8.Prominent technical challenges to be addressed
5.2.9.VR: Summary and outlook
5.2.10.VR: Full data and forecast (Volume, 2010-2031)
5.2.11.VR: Full data and forecast (Revenue, 2010-2030)
5.3.Augmented and Mixed Reality (AR & MR)
5.3.2.Categories: AR & MR / PC, Standalone & Smartphone
5.3.3.Classification - PC AR/MR
5.3.4.Classification - Standalone AR/MR
5.3.5.Standalone AR & MR Form Factor Landscape
5.3.6.Classification - Smartphone AR/MR
5.3.7.Targets for AR/MR hardware
5.4.AR & MR: Discussion and forecasts
5.4.1.The future of AR & MR
5.4.2.AR & MR: Discussions and forecast
5.4.3.AR & MR: Historic device sales
5.4.4.Outlook by device type
5.4.5.AR & MR: Volume forecasts
5.4.6.AR & MR: Revenue forecasts
5.4.7.AR & MR: Assessment and assumptions
5.4.8.AR & MR: Summary and outlook
5.4.9.AR & MR: Full data and forecast (Volume, 2010-2030)
5.4.10.AR & MR: Full data and forecast (Revenue, 2010-2031)
6.1.1.Chapter contents
6.2.Hearables: Introduction
6.2.1.Hearables: Introduction and definitions
6.2.2.The main technology themes within hearables
6.2.3.Product types
6.2.4.Product examples
6.2.6.Players: Hearing assistance
6.2.7.Players: Smart feature integration (voice assistant, spatial audio, "AI", etc.)
6.2.8.Players: Biometrics
6.3.Hearing assistance devices
6.3.1.Traditional hearing assistance devices
6.3.2.The prevalence of hearing loss
6.3.3.Competition throughout the spectrum of hearing loss
6.3.4.Severe and profound hearing loss patients
6.3.5.Moderate to severe hearing loss patients
6.3.6.Mild to moderate hearing loss patients
6.3.7.Mild and pre-hearing loss patients
6.3.8.Summary: Opportunities to address in each sector
6.3.9.A timeline towards OTC hearing aids
6.3.10.A timeline towards OTC hearing aids: The impact of COVID-19
6.3.11.Hearing assistance - market dynamics
6.3.12.Historic data: Hearing assistance sales volumes
6.4.Biometric monitoring on the ear
6.4.1.From the wrist to the ear:
6.4.2.Placement of wearable sensors
6.4.3.Early product examples: Headphones
6.4.4.Early product examples: Hearing aids
6.4.5.First market tests for HRM in sports headphones
6.4.6.Towards more advanced sensing options
6.4.7.Summary of sensing options in the ear
6.4.8.Timeline for commercialisation
6.4.9.How quickly will biometric sensors be introduced?
6.4.10.Revenue from ear-worn products containing biosensors
6.4.11.The proportion of ear worn products adding biometrics
6.4.12.Outlook and conclusions
7.1.Chapter contents
7.2.Introduction to e-textiles & smart clothing
7.3.Timeline: Historic context for e-textiles
7.4.Timeline: Commercial beginnings and early growth
7.5.Timeline: A boom in interest, funding and activity
7.6.Timeline: Challenges emerge from the optimism
7.7.Heated clothing is the dominant sector
7.8.Addressing industry challenges
7.9.Timeline: Present day and outlook
7.10.Commercial progress with e-textile projects
7.11.E-textile product types
7.12.Four key product types, and their different target markets
7.13.Commercial progress: Heating
7.14.Commercial progress: Biometric monitoring
7.15.Commercial progress: Lighting
7.16.Commercial progress: Others
7.17.Types of revenue
7.18.Market data and forecast methodology
7.19.Revenue in e-textiles, by market sector
7.20.Summary: Revenue from e-textiles products, by type
7.21.Summary: Market data and forecasts
7.22.Materials usage in e-textiles
7.23.Case study: Heated clothing products
7.24.Heated clothing companies
7.25.Case study: Biometric monitoring in apparel
7.26.Related products: HRM Chest Straps
7.27.Integrating HRM into clothing
7.28.Companies with biometric monitoring apparel products
7.29.E-textile material use over time
7.30.Materials usage in e-textiles
7.31.Conclusions - Smart clothing & e-textiles
8.1.Chapter contents
8.2.Introduction: Electronic skin patches
8.3.Application overview
8.4.Applications, market sizes and outlook
8.5.The diabetes management ecosystem
8.6.CGM leads the way
8.7.Insulin pumps and patch pumps
8.8.The outlook for diabetes management
8.9.Monitoring the heart via skin patches
8.10.Cardiac monitoring device types - skin patches
8.11.Players and product types in cardiac monitoring
8.12.Cardiac monitoring skin patches: Historic data: 2010-2020
8.13.Cardiac monitoring skin patches: Market forecasts
8.14.Application potential for general purpose devices
8.15.Historic market data 2010-2020
8.16.Market forecasts 2021-2031
8.17.Skin patch temperature sensing: Use cases across 13 case studies
8.18.Key conclusions: Temperature sensing skin patches
8.19.Electrical stimulation product types
8.20.Skin patches in bioelectronic medicine
8.21.Electrical stimulation via skin patches: Market data (2010-2020)
8.22.Electrical stimulation via skin patches: Market forecast (2021-2031)
8.23.Iontophoresis via skin patches: Market data (2010-2020)
8.24.Iontophoresis via skin patches: Market forecast (2021-2031)
8.25.Key conclusions: Iontophoresis
8.26.Sweat sensing
8.27.Technology overview - chemical sensing in sweat
8.28.Sweat vs other sources of analytes
8.29.Analytes in sweat
8.30.Key conclusions: Sweat sensing
8.31.Other applications: Communication with implants
8.32.Examples of players from case studies

Report Statistics

Slides 263
Forecasts to 2031
ISBN 9781913899714

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