Wearable Market Healthy and Growing

The consumerization of healthcare continues as the wearables market climbs during the first quarter of 2015 with new vendors, including Apple, entering the market. According to a report by the International Data Corporation (IDC), as humans make the leap toward becoming bionic individuals, IDC estimates that 72 million wearable devices will be shipped in 2015, up 173 percent from the 26 million units shipped last year.

In a statement issued by the firm, it’s suggested that shipment volumes of the devices are expected to experience a compound annual growth rate of more than 42 percent over the five-year period, reaching 155.7 million units shipped by 2019.

“The demand for basic wearables, those that do not run third-party apps, has been absolutely astounding,” said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst, Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers. “Vendors like Fitbit and Xiaomi have helped propel the market with their sub-$100 bands, and IDC expects this momentum to continue throughout 2015.”

Ubrani also suggests that the demand for smart wearables will increase as the market continues to expand.

“We expect smart wearables, those capable of running third-party apps, to take the lead in 2016,” Ubrani said. “Smart wearables like the Apple Watch and Microsoft’s HoloLens are indicative of an upcoming change in computing, and the transition from basic to smart wearables opens up a slew of opportunities for vendors, app developers, and accessory makers.”   

Worldwide Wearable Device Shipments, Year-Over-Year Growth and CAGR by Product Category, 2014, 2015, and 2019 (Units in Millions)

Product Category

2014 Shipments

2015 Shipments

2019 Shipments

2015 Year-Over-Year Growth

2014 – 2019 CAGR

Basic Wearables






Smart Wearables






All Wearables






Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker – June 18, 2015

The IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker provides total market size and vendor share for both the basic and smart wearable device markets in eight regions and a handful of countries. Detailed segmentation is provided across a wide range of technologies, market segments, and channels, for all major wearable device OEMs.

Key opportunities

In support of this, according to a report by PwC and GSMA titled, “Touching lives through mobile health: Assessment of the global market opportunity,” global mHealth revenues will increase nearly six-fold by 2017, with monitoring services and applications representing 65 percent of the market. Based on this finding, mHealth has the potential to make a great impact on the healthcare industry.

North America and Europe make up to thetwo largest markets for mHealth and account for 67 percent of the market revenue in 2014. According to the report, they are expected to continue their hold on the global market throughout the forecast period. The report attributes market growth to key factors like early adoption of innovative technology, large patient populations, and high capacity to pay for services.

Market growth is favorable in developing economies because of increasing awareness of chronic diseases, favorable government regulations and increased healthcare expenditure.

Key findings:

  • Blood glucose meters is projected to be the fastest growing segment in the global mHealth devices market registering a CAGR of 41 percent during the forecast period
  • The United States continues to lead in the North American mHealth market throughout the forecast period
  • Asia-Pacific is projected to be the fastest growing mHealth market registering a CAGR of 35.9 percent during 2015-2020
  • The cardiovascular and diabetes mHealth application market remains a lucrative market segment for manufacturers

Author’s Bio: Scott E. Rupp is a writer and an award-winning journalist focused on healthcare technology. He has worked as a public relations executive for a major electronic health record/practice management vendor, and he currently manages his own agency, millerrupp. In addition to writing for a variety of publications, Scott also offers his insights on healthcare technology and its leaders on his site, Electronic Health Reporter.

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