The pandemic is depressing the wearables market. ABI Research have slashed their forecast for sales in 2020 and are now expecting 27 million fewer devices to be shipped. Nevertheless, sales are inching forward.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
It was previously expected manufacturers would shift some 281 million wearables in 2020 which would represent a 17% increase over the previous year. Global tech market advisory firm ABI Research have now revised down their forecast and are expecting only 254 wearables to be shipped. This is a slight 5% increase over the 241 million shipments last year and way down on the 23% year-on-year growth between 2018 and 2019.
According to ABI researchers, the fall in more standard smartwatches and fitness trackers is being offset by devices with advanced health monitoring features.
“While wearables will see fewer shipments this year than originally expected, shipments of devices that can track and monitor healthcare vitals has lowered the impact,” says Stephanie Tomsett, research analyst at ABI Research.
“Healthcare wearables are already being utilized to help track the progression of COVID-19 and monitor patients remotely.”
The market researcher expects a prolonged but steady recovery. They say the market should perk up in the second half of this year. Some 289 million wearable shipments are forecast for 2021 (20% year-on-year growth), and 329 million (14%) in 2022 as the pandemic subsides.
The growth will be buoyed by the fact that wearables manufacturers are offering an increasing number of health features such as ECG tracking, sleep apnea detection, arrhythmia detection and blood oxygen tracking. For example, Apple has added ECG tracking to its most recent crop of smartwatches along with arrhythmia detection. It is now looking to expand this with pulse oxygen readings. Withings is currently seeking regulatory approval to release ScanWatch, a device that can track AFib and sleep apnea.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a higher health awareness to all individuals around the world. Wearables with advanced health monitoring features will begin to buoy the wearables market in the second half of 2020…” adds Tomsett.
You can find the ABI Research latest Mobile Accessories and Wearables Market Share and Forecasts market data report on this link.
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