LONDON, United Kingdom — Market Research company Technavio has revealed the latest trends expected to impact the global wearable market over the next five years.
The report highlights the increased use of wearable devices in sports analytics, the introduction of crossover products, the decline in cost of wearable devices, and the use of augmented reality technology. According to Technavio, these four key trends will help to grow the global smart wearable fitness and sports devices and services market to a CAGR of 25.22% and 38.35% respectively, from now until 2020.
Commenting on the report, Rakesh Kumar Panda, a lead analyst at Technavio for M2M and connected devices research, explained that along with the rise of obesity and related health problems leading to an increased need for the adoption of a healthy lifestyle, the growing emphasis on personal wellbeing, is currently driving the market.
“People are using various connected wearable health and fitness devices like fitness bands and sports equipment to track and control their health to reduce the risk of diseases,” he said.
Noting that competition in the market is intense, with the growing presence of many global and local players, Technavio argues that competition will intensify even more over the next five years, and that in order to survive and succeed, vendors will have to respond quickly to these emerging trends.
To find out more about the primary trends expected to propel the market forward, continue reading below.
Increased use of wearable devices in sports analytics
According to Technavio, because the technology and software used in smart wearable devices aids in the critical decision-making process in several sports, by tracking speed, distance covered, and breathing or heart rates, these devices can be used to monitor the fitness and performance activities of on-field players.
Increased usage of these devices in sports analytics has proven to boost the performance of the user, which Technavio argues has increased the demand for these type of devices in the market.
Australian sports analytics firm Catapult supplies its performance-tracking wearable to a number of high profile clients including English Premier League football team Leicester City, and the NBA’s Golden State Warriors.
With the majority of NFL and NBA teams already clients, the company’s executive chairman Adir Shiffman believes there is huge potential beyond the sporting world elite.
With plans to commercialise a cheaper version of its premium product to tap into the mainstream market, Shiffman told ZD Net:
“We’re not specifically speaking about individuals that might go into a store and buy some hardware or a solution for themselves: it tends to be a team, be that amateur teams or lower league teams,” he explained.
“That is the next market we see as ripe for this technology. We see this market being at least 10 times the size of the elite market.”
Introduction of crossover products
According to Technavio, previously, there has been a clear distinction between a fitness device and a smartwatch. However, over the past couple of years, many products have been rolled out that primarily act as a fitness device but also provide the basic functionalities of a smartwatch.
Fitbit, for example, which is known for its fitness devices rather than smartwatches, recently launched Surge, a fitness device that comes with calling and texting functionalities.
Designed for peak performance, Fitbit is positioning the Surge as ideal for users committed to training, dedicated to health and consistently looking to maximize progress.
“Our mission has always been to deliver innovation through exceptional, wearable design in a way that empowers consumers with greater knowledge of their overall health,” said James Park, CEO and Co-Founder of Fitbit, upon the product’s release.
“That being said, we understand that everyone’s approach to fitness is different. With the addition of these new products, Fitbit offers the widest variety of trackers—at affordable prices across all mobile platforms—ensuring that everyone can find the right fit for their lifestyle and their goals.”
Technavio argues that the Integration of smartwatch features into fitness devices is a trend that is likely to gain momentum during the forecast period, which would diminish the gap between a wrist-worn fitness device and a smartwatch.
Decline in cost of wearable devices
Another major factor that is driving the growth of the smart wearable fitness and sports devices and services market, is the decline in the cost of wearable devices, which has increased the adoption rate both in developed and developing countries.
Technavio highlights both the Pebble smartwatch, which declined in price by nearly USD 80 in 2013, as well as the Samsung Gear 2 smartwatch, which launched this year for USD 50 less than its previous version, as an indication of where the market will continue to head.
Technavio argues that wearable tech is no longer confined to trade shows and high-tech junkies, it is now accessible to a much wider consumer base, which is also serving to sustain competition in the market.
Use of augmented reality technology
Augmented reality technology has taken smart wearable devices to a new level by allowing users to view the real, physical environment live, directly, or indirectly by means of computer-generated sensors, argues Technavio.
Projecting images in high resolution and allowing users to manipulate 3D objects, the use of augmented reality technology in smart wearable devices is an emerging trend that is likely to drive the growth of the smart wearable fitness and sports devices and services market over the next five years.
Last year, Atheer, a company that builds augmented reality glasses and software announced a new global member-based organisation focused on accelerating AR adoption through development and expansion of a vibrant technology ecosystem.
“Augmented reality and the rich, emerging 3D AR ecosystem around this technology are poised to change the world in ways we never before dreamed possible,” said Alberto Torres, CEO of Atheer at the time.
“We have seen demand for hands-free enterprise-ready smart glasses grow rapidly amongst our customers and around the globe, and we are thrilled to join the AREA and our founding peers to help deliver more complete and interoperable augmented reality solutions.”