For most people, technology hinders a healthy lifestyle, as it encourages a more sedentary one; however, wearables might be the key to getting out of the diet rut and helping people live a healthier lifestyle. Since they monitor your vitals and activity, they give you factual insights into your daily health and movement that helps encourage a consistently healthy lifestyle. The good news is that health and lifestyle type wearables are becoming more popular every day. In fact, it is estimated that the mobile health and wearables industry will reach $173 million by 2020. You are likely already familiar with wearables even if you didn’t know that was the term for them.

What Are Wearables?

‘Wearables’ is the abbreviated term for wearable technology. As we said before, you probably already know what wearables are even if you didn’t know that is what they are called. Some of the most popular wearables are fitness and health related; other popular wearables are Bluetooth headsets, but there is also a host of other emerging technology that fall in the wearables category. You will, no doubt, continue to hear more about wearables that cross over into many different industries.  Wikipedia defines wearables as, “Wearable technology, wearables, fashionable technology, wearable devices, tech togs, or fashion electronics are smart electronic devices (electronic device with micro-controllers) that can be worn on the body as implants or accessories. Wearable devices such as activity trackers are a good example of the Internet of Things, since ‘things’ such as electronics, software, sensors, and connectivity are effectors that enable objects to exchange data (including data quality) through the internet with a manufacturer, operator, and / or other connected devices, without requiring human intervention. Wearable technology has a variety of applications which grows as the field itself expands. It appears prominently in consumer electronics with the popularization of the smart watch and activity tracker. Apart from commercial uses, wearable technology is being incorporated into navigation systems, advanced textiles, and healthcare.”

Health and Fitness Wearables

As for the most well-known health care related wearables, they are the popular name brand wristbands and smart watches that connect with apps and give you feedback based on your activity and health parameters combined with the input you enter into the app. They can monitor movement, vitals, exercise vs. sedentary behaviors, etc. That information combined with the input you enter in regards to water and food intake can help give you an accurate picture of your diet and health. In addition to being used for fitness, wearables are also being used by companies like ours in clinical trials. They are able to monitor health parameters that normally have to be measured in a clinic setting. This results in easier and increased participation in clinical trials making for more accurate results from a wider base of participants.

Wearable Statistics

Wearables are part of the larger category known as the Internet of Things (IoT) which represents objects that have been connected digitally or wirelessly.  The entire industry is blossoming before our eyes and will continue to grow. Here are some statistics about the emerging wearables market:

  • At the end of August 2017, the International Data Corporation reported that wearable shipments grew 10%, reaching 26 million units for the second quarter. (source)
  • The biggest boost in activity though was the Apple Watch and Android Wear, which increased 61%. (source)
  • In 2017, 42 million smart watches were sold to the tune of $9 billion in sales. (source)
  • Bluetooth headsets and smart watches together are on pace to account for combined sales of 287 million units within four years, based on a new wearable forecast.(source)
  • 310 million wearable devices were sold worldwide in 2017, an increase of 17% from 2016, according to the forecast by Gartner. (source)
  • The total forecast for all wearables sold within four years is a whopping 505 million units. (source)
  • Bluetooth headset sales are the biggest based on number of units sold, growing from 150 million in 2017 to a forecast of 206 million by 2021. (source)
  • When it comes to sales, smart watches lead the way. Sales of wearable devices generated a revenue of $31 billion in 2017, with smart watches accounting for $9 billion of that. (source)

Here’s the breakdown of numbers of devices projected to be sold over the next 3 years by wearable category:

  • 206 million – Bluetooth headset
  • 81 million – smart watch
  • 67 million – Head-mounted display
  • 64 million – Wristband
  • 59 million – Other fitness monitor
  • 22 million – Sports watch
  • 6 million – Body-worn camera

Wearables Help Users Stay Healthy

Wearables will continue to be more common all over the world and soon will just be second nature to most of us. As you can see, the health care and fitness applications for wearables are leading the way. As wearables become a normal part of our lives, so will the healthy lifestyle they encourage through reminding us to stay more active, drink more water, eat healthy, and can even do things like prompt us to take medications on time. These constant reminders to stay healthy keep us on top of our health with little reminders that soon help them to become habit. Some aspects of the apps even gamify your healthcare and can help push users to be more competitive about it. The everyday aspect of these types of wearables help users make and maintain overall lifestyle changes for the long term rather than just a temporary exercise regimen or diet.

About George Clinical

George Clinical  is a leading independent Asia-Pacific based clinical research organisation (CRO) with global capabilities, differentiated by scientific leadership, innovation and extensive investigator networks. With staff operating in 13 countries, George Clinical provides the full range of clinical trial services to biopharmaceutical, medical device and diagnostic customers, for all trial phases, registration and post-marketing trials. George Clinical combines scientific and clinical leadership with expert trial delivery capability to create a distinctive world-class service. George Clinical’s parent company is The George Institute on Global Health.