The wearable tech industry is set to reach a value of $290.6bn by 2030, according to a new report.

According to GlobalData’s Thematic Intelligence: Wearable Tech (2023) report, the industry will see a compound annual growth rate of 14.3% between 2022 and 2030.

The report explores the growth and future of the wearable tech industry, outlining the core trends, industry leaders, and analysis assessing market size and growth factors. It indicates that this forecasted growth will be predominantly driven by the sales of hearables and smartwatches with consumer demand for health and fitness tracking devices.

Wearable tech constitutes a core component of the internet of things industry and covers the likes of smartwatches, virtual reality (VR) headsets, smart clothing and hearables (devices such as the popular Apple AirPods that allow users to make phone calls, listen to audio content and monitor their health).

Hearables currently account for 51.7% of the wearable tech market, making it the largest segment by revenue. Following this, smartwatches are the second largest segment with predicted continual growth as users upgrade their standard watches and fitness bands.

The wearable tech industry has expanded rapidly over its history from the launch of Sony’s portable transistor radio in 1955 as the first wearable tech product to the likes of the Apple iPod in 2001 and the Fitbit in 2009.

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Today, GlobalData outlines some current concerns from the EU and consumers over the privacy implications regarding both health and location information gathered by wearable tech products. The Wearable Tech report details how the EU is increasingly aware of the need to protect mobile health data gathered by these devices, whilst there are also concerns of their integration into workplaces allowing employers to track employee’s location and productivity.

Despite these concerns, several factors identified by GlobalData are driving the growth of the wearable tech industry. Firstly, in industry, wearable tech has a number of practical uses. Smart glasses, for example, can be used in a healthcare setting to facilitate greater precision in surgeries and to assess and regulate quality in manufacturing processes.

In consumer markets, while ‘hyped’ wearable tech products such as VR headsets and smart glasses have limited growth potential, the report emphasises the dominance of healthcare and fitness driving demand for wearable tech following the increase in digital media consumption and virtual fitness coaching during the Covid-19 pandemic.

GlobalData analyst Pinky Hiranandani commented: “For companies entering the wearables market, differentiating their products from those already available is difficult and expensive. Vendors are increasingly developing products that cater to specific customer segments. “For example, Apple introduced Watch Ultra, targeted at fitness enthusiasts and athletes, in September 2022. Similarly, in August 2022, Samsung Electronics launched the Galaxy Watch5 Pro, targeting outdoor enthusiasts. Creating a niche will help companies differentiate their products.”