Healthcare applications to drive wearable device boom
Healthcare applications to drive wearable device boom

Healthcare applications to drive wearable device boom

As many as 430 million wearable devices will be shipped annually by 2022, a report from market intelligence company Tractica.

In its Wearable Device Market Forecasts report, the company is forecasting that wearable device shipments will increase from 118 million units in 2016 to 430 million by 2022 – a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24.1 percent. This growth, represented below, is supposedly to be driven by demand for healthcare applications for smartwatches, fitness trackers, and body sensors.

(Photo: Tractica)

Read more: Wearables: Look for compelling use cases, not empty wrists

A developing wearable market

While smartwatches and fitness trackers remain the ‘flag bearers’ of the wearable market at present, Tractica suggests that growth among those devices is slowing. By 2022, the company believes that smartwatches will still represent the largest wearable device category, with fitness trackers in second, but less common wearables like body sensors could emerge as one of the most popular new form factors.

Body sensors can range from chip implants underneath the skin that use RFID technology to allow employees to gain access to an office, for example, to ‘e-skin’ substances like nanomesh that can act as healthcare monitors. And it’s applications such as the latter that Tractica believes will drive momentum in the wearables market in the coming years.

Smart clothing, wearable cameras, smart glasses, and smart headphones, among others, will make up the rest of the market, though no significant growth in these areas is anticipated.

“Healthcare and health-focused applications in general will be a major driver for the next phase of growth in wearables,” says Tractica research director Aditya Kaul.

“Wearable device companies that pivot beyond fitness and activity tracking, toward preventing and managing chronic health conditions like diabetes and heart problems will succeed in the long run. Tractica believes that chronic health management, both in a professional healthcare setting, as well as a general consumer setting, will help wearables break into the mainstream.”

Read more: Harlequins expands use of wearables to improve player performance

On 31 October & 1 November 2017, Internet of Business will be holding its Internet of Health USA event at the Royal Sonesta in Boston, MA. This event is North America’s only conference focused 100 percent on IoT applications for health providers and payers.