Wearable sensors market to hit $1 billion this year

Friday, 29 September, 2017

The global market for wearable sensors is expected to record its first billion-dollar year in 2017, according to market research company IDTechEx.

Billions of wearable electronic products are sold each year, the company noted, with tough competition driving prices down. Even as wearable devices become more advanced, history suggests that hardware will always be prone to commoditisation. With hardware prices being constantly squeezed, increasing proportions of the value that companies can capture from products will be from the data that the products can generate. As this happens, the role of sensors will only become more important.

In the report ‘Wearable Sensors 2018–2028: Technologies, Markets & Players’, IDTechEx addresses 21 different types of wearable sensor across nine different categories: inertial measurement units (IMUs); optical sensors; electrodes; force/pressure/stretch sensors; temperature sensors; microphones; GPS; chemical and gas sensors; and others. The report also contains information about the activities of over 115 different companies.

IDTechEx describes wearable sensors in three waves, the first of which includes sensors that have been incorporated in wearable for many years, often being originally developed for wearable products decades ago, and existing as mature industries today. A second wave of wearable sensors came following huge technology investment in smartphones, as many of the sensors from smartphones could be easily adapted for use in wearable products.

Finally, as wearable technology hype and investment peaked, many organisations identified many sensor types that could be developed specifically with wearable products in mind, taking into account properties including comfort, flexibility and low power consumption. These devices can often be found in the commercial evaluation or early commercial sales period today, though some examples are already becoming significant success stories.

This year, the largest category of wearables in terms of sales volumes will be second-wave devices, according to the report. However, it is predicted that third-wave devices are poised to take over from around 2022, accounting for nearly half the market by 2028. First-wave devices are meanwhile set to make something of a comeback, increasing in revenue year on year until they equal sales of second-wave devices in 2027 and overtake them in 2028.

For more information on the report, visit the IDTechEx website.

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