GlobalData predicts wearable technology sector to grow 24.6%/year between 2020-2024 to reach US$156B, driven by fitness trackers, as people sought to keep fit at home during pandemic; medical wearables can be used to detect heart rate, other vital signs

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October 24, 2022 (press release) –

The wearable technology market is booming, with GlobalData predicting that the sector will grow by 24.6% each year between 2020 and 2024 to reach a huge $156 billion. While this has so far largely been driven by consumer fitness trackers, as people sought to keep fit at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, the leading data and analytics company notes that these devices are expected to play a much larger role in the medical and healthcare sectors moving forward.

Medical wearables can be used to detect heart rate, blood pressure, and other vital signs. By sending this data to the cloud for real-time analysis, wearable medical devices can help with predictive diagnosis. For instance, advising a patient to go to the hospital based on an irregular heartbeat.

Medical wearables to become more lucrative as population ages

GlobalData’s latest report, ‘Internet of Things – Thematic Research’, reveals that wearables are expected to play a larger role in the medical and healthcare sector due to an aging global population, growth in remote patient care and increased use of internet of things (IoT) in hospitals.

Aidan Robertson, Medical Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Not only did the pandemic show the considerable value in wearable tech for the average consumer concerned about their overall health, but it highlighted the many advantages for its use in a hospital setting. Already, an automated remote monitoring system which tracked vital signs was piloted in the Netherlands to see if it can reduce patient visits during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the aging population becomes more of a burden on the healthcare framework, products such as remote patient monitoring devices and mobile health apps will become more lucrative.”

Medical wearables to appear in healthcare settings sooner than expected

As the perception of wearables in healthcare becomes more common, companies will provide additional spending for research and development towards wearable technology to capitalize on the increasing demand. Greater accuracy and the collection of more reliable data will also be a focus.

Robertson continues: “In the past, wearables were not considered to be reliable enough for clinical applications, or even general wellness monitoring. However, that sentiment is beginning to change as the technology is becoming more advanced regarding sensor accuracy. Research is even being conducted to investigate diagnostic potential. Although there are still regulatory and technical hurdles to overcome for wearable devices to meet the standard needed for direct clinical application, the industry will continue to make great strides and widespread use within healthcare settings will happen sooner than expected.”

Apple is the largest player in the hearables and smart watch segments

The smartwatches and hearables segments are the largest within the wearables market and have shown the most significant growth. Apple is the largest player in the hearables segment, having held a 36% market share in 2021, and the smartwatch market, seeing a 29% share as of Q2 2022.

Robertson adds: “Apple has been steadily working its way into the medical wearable space since 2018 when the apple watch series 4 first gained FDA approval for its ECG capabilities making it a class 2 medical device. Since then, FDA clearance has been granted for later versions of the product with similar ECG features. In future, we can expect Apple to grow its presence in the cardiology wearables market in addition to its dominance in consumer wearables.”

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