According to GlobalData, due to increased awareness during the pandemic, including tracking disease contact, predicting symptoms, and monitoring patients, the wearable technology market will grow from $27B in 2019 to $64B in 2024, expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19%. Although its major segment, the smartwatch market, has declined since the Covid-19 outbreak, the market is expected to start recovering from 2021 onwards.
The pandemic greatly increased the awareness of wearable devices as their use cases increased. This has resulted in an increase in device innovation as more companies race to develop new ways to cash in and help limit the spread of the virus. Digital contact tracing devices that are accurate, energy-efficient, and privacy-protective help limit the spread of Covid-19. Meanwhile, wearable devices play a vital role in combining essential vital signs with clinical symptomology. The extensive data that wearable devices collect can be used to predict the onset of the virus. Additionally, wearable technology provides rapid deployment for clinical surveillance to help decrease the risk of exposure for healthcare providers. Wearable monitoring devices help in identifying the subtle signs of deterioration in a Covid-19 patient’s condition at the point of care, hours before a potential adverse event would occur.
However, Covid-19 will hit smartwatch shipments and revenues in 2020. According to GlobalData estimates, the number of smartwatch shipments in 2020 will be 9% lower than in 2019, due to delays in production caused by Covid-19. Furthermore, smartwatch revenues will decline by 10% in 2020, as the global recession resulting from the pandemic hits consumer spending. Compared with wearables with specific medical purposes, smartwatches for the general population are more vulnerable to the pandemic-related economic recession. Most consumers do not currently see significant value in smartwatches, primarily because most of the functionality available on smartwatches can already be found on smartphones. However, the current low penetration rate shows that there is plenty of scope for growth in the coming years.
Recent advances of wearable devices are providing value for healthcare with a focus on diagnosis, treatment, monitoring, and prevention. These advantages are felt through the entire healthcare value chain with benefits including personalisation, early diagnosis, remote patient monitoring, adherence to medication, information libraries, and better decision-making while reducing healthcare costs. Growing demand and functionality has gathered the attention of insurers and companies in the supply of wearable health technology to consumers and employees for their wide-ranging benefits. As a result, the wearable technology market will grow robustly in the foreseeable future.