Smart Ring Wars Go Global


As global wearable usage ticks up,  smart ring makers from around the world are making a commitment.

For context: The fitness tracker market is expected to reach $162B in 2030 – up from $52B in 2023 – and with remote patient monitoring set to double between 2021 and 2026 to $2.95B, wearable makers are rapidly innovating to meet rising demand.

Apple’s first foray into smartwatches in 2014 may have transformed the market. But as sensors slimmed, chips shrank and algorithms advanced, smart rings – since arriving in the market a decade ago – have carved out a category of their own with a less-obtrusive form factor.

Lord of the Rings

Following the launch of its Gen 3 ring (where it added daytime wellness monitoring to sleep tracking, plus a monthly subscription), a $2.55B valuation and sales of 1M units worldwide, Finnish startup Oura has emerged as market leader.

Keeping the business growing, the brand has aggressively courted wellness-obsessed consumers through integrations and acquisitions, including content tie-ups with Strava and Therabody and partnering with organisations on corporate wellness.

Signalling a move beyond wellness, Oura purchased biometric ID/contactless payment platform Proxy, and on the clinical side, the UK’s NHS has tapped Oura to monitor studies for menopause, cancer care and more.

A nice ring to it. Big Tech companies also want in. Google’s Fitbit filed a patent for a “ring-shaped wearable”, Samsung’s Galaxy Ring is rumoured to be launching in 2024 and Apple’s recent patent filing suggests a ring with gesture detection, indicating possible AR/VR integration.

Meanwhile, competition from startups around every part of the globe is heating up:

  • In India, Ultrahuman’s acquisition of smart ring LazyCo brought first- and second-gen rings (called Air) to accompany its CGM platform, with new rivals Pi Ring and entries from smartwatch companies BoAT and Noise competing on price.
  • France’s Circular, an Oura look-alike, is due to ship pre-orders this autumn.
  • In the US, the women-centric Evie ring (from Movano) is pursuing FDA clearance as a medical device and will launch in October 2023, while mood-tracking Happy Ring is scaling up after a $60M Series A round.
  • Swiss-born Iris raised $650K on Kickstarter, accounting for presales of over 4K rings.

Punchline: Growing consumer confidence in smart rings for 24/7 wellness tracking opened the door to patient monitoring and vast B2B opportunities way beyond corporate health. With Oura adding uses like contactless payment, and others, like Evie, courting the prescription pad, new applications could make more consumers think finger over wrist.

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