According to a new Beecham Research report, the wearable tech market stands for a greater chance of mass consumer adoption if it can somehow up its chicness. The report notes that wearable devices will swiftly move beyond just smart glasses and watches to embrace products in a wider variety of sectors, such as safety, security, glamor and healthcare.
The fashion-forward wearable tech market could hit $9.3 billion by 2018, which would nearly triple the current market prediction. As validation of the uptick, ABI Research recently also predicted that the annual average demand for wearable devices will skyrocket by 22% during the period of 2013-2018, rising from less than 200 million units to 500 million.
“Current market forecasts are based on smartphone-centric view of wearable technology,” explained Saverio Romeo, Principal Analyst at Beecham. “We see wearable tech as playing a critical role in the drive to greater connectivity and the Internet of Things.”
As previously reported in Bits & Pieces, smart wearable band shipments increased dramatically in the second half of 2013, with analysts at Canalys predicting a significant acceleration of the trend to continue this year. Over 17 million wearable bands are forecasted to ship this year alone, driven primarily by devices with wearable-specific sensors. More specifically, Canalys estimates this number will grow to over 23 million units by 2015 and over 45 million by 2017. In 2018, that number could swell to almost 112 million.
“There is a very strong focus on technology around wearable devices [which is] a problem as they should be user-centric,” Romeo added during the launch of the firm’s latest report.
According to Beecham analyst Claire Duke-Woolley, one of the areas that needs to do more to embrace wearable technology is in the fashion market. “If this market really is to take a different route, we should look at partnerships that we have never seen before, between technology companies and fashion,” she urges.
While several companies currently offering smart watches prefer a more tech-centric approach, Beecham Research points to the new Withings Activité that merges Parisian design with Swiss watch making to create desirable, stylish and functional products. It also highlights the newly-unveiled Fitbit and Tory Birch collaboration as an example of how the fitness market is moving beyond the functionality of traditional products. Another sector where Beecham Research sees progress is in smart clothing and textiles, from the likes of Cute Circuit and Wearable Experiments, along with Studio XO, which exemplifies the right ethos and multidisciplinary approach, but is still to move beyond the couture end of the market.
Ranging from SAM4S to tinyAVR MCUs, Atmel finds itself smack in the middle of the rapidly-evolving wearable tech revolution. In addition, Atmel devices integrate numerous features to save circuit board space, such as USB transceivers and embedded termination resistors. Many devices are offered in very small form factor packages, a critical characteristic for engineers and Makers designing wearable tech and elaborated upon further in this wearable computing white paper.
Want to read more? Download the entire Beecham Research report entitled “Wearable Technology — the Fashion Tech Era: Towards a Multidisciplinary Approach.”