Wearable wireless devices revenue to rocket


Sports, fitness and wellness segment leads the charge and spreads into corporate healthcare

Wearable wireless device revenues will grow to exceed $6 billion in 2018 according to a new study.

The sports, fitness and wellness segment of the wearable wireless device market is the largest of the areas studied by ABI Research, never dropping below 50% share of all device shipments over the forecast period. Activity trackers are expected to grow at a 40% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) and overtake the 2013 shipment leader, heart rate monitors, in 2017.

Highlighting the growth of the wellness sector, over the next five years more than 13 million wearable devices with embedded wireless connectivity will be integrated into wellness plans offered by businesses, aid ABI.

Corporate wellness is increasingly being targeted by a mix of specialist and consumer-focused device vendors, noted the research company. Competition will also extend to software applications on mobile devices. Vendors including FitBit, BodyMedia, FitLinxx and others are all developing contrasting products and strategies with an eye to the corporate wellness market; however, device adoption will not just be about device characteristics, claimed ABI. Adoption will be dependent on forming the right partnerships with existing players already in the corporate healthcare management space.

'While some device vendors are hoping that strong consumer awareness will drive corporate wellness adoption for their products, they also need to understand and focus on the most influential parts of the healthcare value chain,' said Jonathan Collins, author of the new study.

Healthcare insurance companies, healthcare providers, VARs, and the corporations providing wellness programmes will all increasingly have a role to play in the adoption of wearable wireless devices, added Collins: 'Vendors who see the potential of the space are uncertain how best to deploy their resources to reach this emerging market. Success will come to the vendors that can meet a range of requirements demanded in the corporate wellness market as well as applying their resources to maximise the value of their sales strategies.'

The second largest market is home monitoring devices. These, primarily target the growing elderly care market, is also expected to witness strong growth over the next five years with overall device revenue growing at CAGR exceeding 39%. This segment is also anticipated to see the development of cross-over devices such as personal emergency response devices supplemented with activity tracker features.

The remaining wearable wireless device segments are remote patient monitoring and the professional (on site) healthcare market. These markets are unique due to relatively fewer suppliers and high device costs. Average costs for ECG monitors exceed $200, while continuous glucose monitors exceed $800. Blood pressure monitors and pulse Oximeters remain the most popular devices in these market segments.

'Fitness activity trackers are quickly gaining popularity in the market.  Different from other more single-use or event-centric devices, activity trackers monitor multiple characteristics of the human body including movement, calories burned, body temperature, and sleep tracking,' said senior analyst, Adarsh Krishnan.


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