As the smart wearable electronics business grows very rapidly from over $14 billion today to over 70 billion in 2024, the dominant segment by value will remain the increasingly merged medical, healthcare, fitness, wellness sector.
According to the latest market study by IDTechEx, it has the largest number of big names behind the most promising new developments -- such as Adidas, Fujitsu, Nike, Philips, Reebock, Roche, Samsung and Apple.
Collectively, their intellectual property is significant and their agenda is to address many of the biggest issues of our time -- such as the aging of the population and the epidemic of obesity and diabetes.
This wearable technology sector even extends to a replacement pancreas as a skin patch and exoskeletons and limbs to make the disabled whole again.
The advanced infotainment sector will grow to exceed it in numbers but not value by 2024. Here, Google Glass and other eyewear will be a large sub-sector alongside smart wristwear.
Smart glasses have excellent hands free user interfaces such as speaking to you, voice recognition and “blink to take a picture” and they are relatively easy to use, with the exception of the popular fitness-monitoring wristbands.
Advanced infotainment will be a growth market, but with less impact and therefore attracting little support from governments. For instance, the technology makes mobile phones more useful and provides more realistic video games through vibrating suits and 3D headwear.
Just as the first volume wearable electronics -- basic earphones and electronic wrist watches -- moved to China at collapsed prices, the largely conventional electronics in most wearable advanced infotainment today means that much of it will also be commoditized within the decade.
To date, this is an open market. As yet, there is no equivalent to Samsung cornering OLEDs for early smartphones and Apple cornering other valued early smartphone technology innovations.
Wristwear currently has the largest sale within advanced informatics but it has many challenges. The most promising ones need to be mobile-phone based and multi-functional, but using these devices is very problematic.
According to the IDTechEx assessment, at the other extreme, basic earphones and electronic wristwatches are a static market massively over-supplied.
Add the other important sectors of wearable electronics -- industrial, commercial, military and lastly fashion -- and there's a market segment where the number of developers and manufacturers is growing to 17,000 in 2024 (including the 2,000 involved in applicable key technologies).