You probably already use at least one type of a wearable. What is wearable technology and why are we so addicted to using it?
The best wearable technology definition is simple: A wearable device is any technologically enhanced device that can be worn somewhere on your body to provide information, analytics and other computations, often tethered (typically via Bluetooth) to another “smart” device, such as your smartphone, tablet, computer or a combination thereof.
Popular uses of wearable technology products include things like the ability for the device to track your daily activities, most commonly health and fitness related activities such as tracking your caloric intake, your sleep cycle, your heartrate, fat or cholesterol levels, body monitoring, mental health, overall wellness, medication reminders, fitness trackers, and countless others.
Over the past decade, wearable technology trends have spurred this unique sector into unprecedented growth. As of 2019, wearable technology market growth had a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7%, with current predictions modeling a CAGR of at least 15% over the next seven years. At the present, wearable technology market research has concluded that the current market is worth at least $33 billion (per year) and growing.
Emerging trends now include the ability to talk to your doctor or mental health practitioner from your wearable device, while tracking your mood, diet, medicine intake etc. The NP Journal has even tracked how wearable devices and technology help increase patient compliance and success rates.
The report concludes that:
“Data from wearables can be used as a secondary diagnostic tool by providing data to track patient information over time. Users can see their data instantly and use this information to change their activities or determine when to contact an NP for further assessment. This can be especially useful for homebound patients or for those who have a hard time accessing an NP.
By integrating these data into a scheduled patient visit or hospital stay, NPs can instruct patients on normal values and when to contact their NP for further assessment. Because there is so much potential information, the data can be made available in the EHR and documented as part of the visit as findings.
Rather than just looking at performance increasing and decreasing numbers, NPs can use the data as part of their assessment. In this way, the information will become more useful in the care of the patient.”
History of Wearable Technology
Where did it all begin and how did this popular fad rapidly evolve into something that’s currently being embraced by more than 722 million people, a number expected to eclipse 1 billion users by 2022? Take a stroll with us on this wearable technology timeline to get a glimpse on all the uses of wearable technology over the years.
- The history of wearable technology can actually be traced back … very far back … to the very first pair of eyeglasses that were invented in 1289 (although the actual technology for it was available long before).
- Fast forward to 1510, and the Nuremburg Egg was the hottest tech on the market, a portable time-keeping device for the astute gentleman.
- In the 1800s, you’d see ads for fancy “air conditioned” top hats, which actually had their own patent.
- 1907 saw the invention of the Pigeon Camera, a device used to take aerial photos of troop movements and buildups behind the front lines.
- The 1960s gave us devices like the Roulette Shoe – a portable “computing” device disguised as a shoe that supposedly helped you cheat at the actual game of roulette by buzzing when you should bet on a certain number.
- By the mid-1960s the first real wearable technology device came into existence when inventors starting making wearable electronics: TV Glasses. Yes, this was a small, portable tube television that you wore on your face, similar to virtual reality glasses of the present day.
- The 1970s gave us timeless wonders like the Walkman and calculator watches.
- 1981 saw the first actual wearable computer “smartwatch” found in the SEIKO UC 2000 WRIST PC.
- 1989 gave us an attempt at Google Glass, with the Private Eye, and a slew of likeminded devices that followed well into the early 2000s.
- From Levis’ ahead-of-its-time ICD Jacket of 2000, complete with USB and charging ports for your devices, to the failed Tommy Hilfiger solar-powered smart jacket, wearable tech has come leaps and bounds.
How Many People Own Wearable Devices?
How many people own wearable devices? As of 2016, around 325 million people were using wearable devices for one thing or another, with the most popular application being in the sports/fitness/wellness categories. As of the present day, nearly 1 billion people are using wearables on a daily basis, a number that is likely to double in the decade ahead.
According to a wearable technology market research report by PWC:
- 54% of users love wearables that offer monetary rewards for them reaching a certain goal (like completing so many steps in a day).
- 44% like that wearables can help them decrease their spending (like avoiding paying for a gym membership when using a fitness wearable).
- 45% like that wearables deliver information to them that they “wouldn’t find anywhere else.”
- 49% think that wearable technology future trends will improve workplace efficiency and accountability.
According to a Statista wearable technology industry analysis, this year alone, more than 356.8 million new people will start using wearable devices. As you can imagine, the demand and global wearable technology market size alone is astounding. As the world becomes more decentralized due to the climate of ongoing worldwide events, you can expect the popularity of these devices to continue to increase at a record-setting pace.
Uses of Wearable Technology
Wearable technology has countless uses and applications, some far-reaching, while others more practical. From devices like the Fitbit and Whoop, which are simple fitness trackers and data harvesting devices designed to help a person track their personal daily fitness goals all the way to newer virtual reality devices that immerse the user in a digital world, the application of this technology is endless.
- Smart jewelry is the newest entrant and comprises things like smart rings that can track your daily activities and sync to your smartwatch or smartphone.
- Fitness tracking devices designed to monitor things like heart rate, oxygen levels, daily steps and physical routines.
- Smart clothing that helps you stay warm when its cold or cold when it’s hot, and that can also monitor your health levels, help prevent foot ulcers (smart socks) and even alert you to certain unknown health conditions.
- Smart glasses that give users access to a micronized graphical user interface with robust feature sets and reporting.
Statistics on Wearables
The future is now. Wearable tech devices are everywhere. They’re being embraced by consumers at unprecedented levels. There’s no ifs ands or buts about it, wearable is here and it’s getting better with each passing day.
Have a look at this extensive list of statistics on wearables to get a better idea of just how popular a mainstay this emerging tech has become.
- The market size of the wearable tech industry is worth more than $25 billion per year (SaaS Scout).
- Fitness, health and wellbeing are the most commonly cited reasons why consumers buy wearables (Statista).
- More than 240 million wearable devices are purchased each year (Statista).
- Revenue for wearables is expected to increase by at least 15% by 2022 (Statista).
- Wearables are currently used by an estimated 325 million people (Brandon Gaille).
- The demand for wearable devices has seen a 9.7% increase over the past year, with users who already own one or more device being the most likely to purchase a new one (Brandon Gaille).
- The vast majority (70%) of users feel that companies creating wearables protect their privacy, and also that privacy is one of the most important issues with any wearable device (Brandon Gaille).
- 43% of men and 57% of women are using wearables during the day, most commonly a smartwatch (Statista).
- Wearable sales increased by at least 25 million units in 2021 (Market Watch).
- Fit Bit dominates the global wearable fitness device market with a 29% stake (Market Watch).
- Nearly 57 million Americans are using a wearable device on any given day (Allied Market Research).
- For the year 2020, wearable shipments increased by more than 40% worldwide (Smart Insights).
- Fitness wearables are the most popular, accounting for more than 58% of all global shipments (Smart Insights).
- Ear worn wearables are the second most popular market size, growing 30% year over year and accounting for nearly 19% of the current and future market (Gartner).
- Bluetooth-enabled wearable devices are the most popular of any type of wearable, accounting for more than 26 million units sold per year, namely due to ear-worn and wrist-worn connected devices (Gartner).
- More than 40% of consumers polled who use smartwatches say it decreases the time they use their smartphone significantly (Ericsson).
- Almost 75% of people using wearable devices feel that they help them interact better with other devices and their surroundings (Ericsson).
- 20% of consumers are opting to purchase wearable devices to increase the interactions they have with technological devices in their home (Mintel).
- 40% of wearable device users say they are less reliant on other forms of technology and feel that they get more done towards meeting or achieving their goals in a given day (Statista).
- Nearly 75% of wearable device users are fond of technology enhancements like sensors that read body data, oxygen levels, heart rate, etc. (Statista).
- 83% of wearable users want the product to offer standalone features that are not reliant on the connectivity of a smartphone or the internet (Economic Times).
- 35% of wearable technology users polled stated they use the device for health and fitness reasons (Brandon Gaille).
- The wearable technology market is expected to be worth more than $150 billion by 2022 (IDTechEx).
As you can see, these wearable technology statistics help us better understand just how popular these devices are. Future trends and projections also paint the picture of a healthy future for wearables, where one day they may become as commonplace as the smartphone has become for consumers.
The Future of Wearable Technology
While statistics on wearable technology are helpful and can help us better understand what the future holds, they still leave many unanswered questions, too.
One great example is in the healthcare field, in an industry where doctors already rely heavily on technology to do their jobs. From robotic surgical nodes to comprehensive scanning devices, medical technology is already robust and high-tech. What would happen if useful wearables entered the mix to, say, alert a nurse when a patient needs assistance; or to help steady the hand of a neurosurgeon; automatically inject insulin into a diabetic at just the right time; and so on?
The truth is that we’re just barely scratching the surface when it comes to wearable technology. While it’s anyone’s guess what the future will ultimately hold there’s one new thing you don’t want to miss out on: Modo Bio.
We’re helping to change the way you use the data from the wearable devices you know, use and love so that you can be the best you possible.
We put you and your biodata in direct contact with a curated team of health and medical professionals focused on training you to be great at being healthy.
You’ll work hand-in-hand with our experts as you hone your skills for healthy living. Join the Waitlist Here.