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Smartwatches expected to pass fitness trackers in fast growing connected wearables market

Shipments of connected wearables will grow by a CAGR of 15.4 percent from 116.8 million in 2018 to 238.5 million worldwide in 2023, according to forecasts from IoT market research company Berg Insight.

The fitness and activity tracker segment is the market’s largest, with an estimated 65 million units shipped in 2018, and is led by Xiaomi, with Fitbit, Huawei, and Garmin among the next largest vendors. Smartwatches increasingly include feature fitness and activity tracking capabilities, however, and represent a new competitive front. Other segments include smart glasses, smart clothing, mobile telecare and medical devices.

“Apple continues to hold a firm grip on the smartwatch market and is at the forefront of innovation in the industry,” says Martin Bäckman, IoT Analyst at Berg Insight. Vendors including Fossil, LG and Huawei have adopted Google’s Wear OS platform, while other vendors use platforms from Fitbit or Samsung. The smartwatch segment is expected to surpass fitness and activity trackers and become the largest wearables device category by shipments in 2021. “Technology advancements, increased consumer awareness and wide availability of devices in different price segments will enable smartwatches to reach shipments of 117.7 million units in 2023,” Bäckman notes.

In addition to fitness and activity tracking, medical and mobile telecare devices are expected to increase significantly, from 1.8 million last year to 6.9 million in 2023, including cardiac rhythm management devices, ECG monitors. B-Secur CEO Alan Foreman recently told Biometric Update that wearables are the company’s main target market for its ECG biometric technology, along with the auto market.

Standalone VR headsets for consumers from providers like Oculus and HTC made up a large share of the 1.5 million devices shipped in 2018, and Berg forecasts shipments of smart glasses and head-mounted displays will reach 11.9 million units by 2023.

Cellular connectivity will be embedded in 67.7 million wearables sold in 2023, Berg predicts.

SIC Biometrics recently launched a new app to connect the IdentiFi Watch with wearables for field biometric identification.

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