Written by, Sandeep Kumar
Updated June, 7, 2021
Do you own cool wearable gadgets such as smart jewelery, rings, wristbands, or watches?
Do you want to learn about the usage and helpfulness of wearable technology?
To answer all your questions, we’ve compiled some facts and figures about the wearable technology market from reliable sources worldwide.
These are the topics we cover:
The word “wearable” alone tells us that this type of tech can be worn on the body. Wearables are a category of electronic devices that can be used as accessories, embedded in clothing, implanted in the user’s body, or even tattooed on the skin. These devices are hands-free gadgets for various purposes that are powered by microprocessors and can send and receive data via the Internet.
(Source: MarketsAndMarkets / GrandviewResearch)
In 2019, the global wearable technology market size was $32.63 billion
So we know people like using cool wearable gadgets, but how popular are they?
Let’s check out some wearable technology statistics to get an idea:
These figures make it apparent that the wearable technology market size is gradually increasing. In four years, from 2015 to 2019, the value of the market doubled. The number of connected wearable devices worldwide is expected to grow to over 1.1 billion in 2022 as the world moves from 4G to 5G.
Additionally, in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic had an inevitable influence on the wearables market’s growth. But was that effect positive or negative? People started purchasing more healthy wearables.
(Source: eMarketer / Statista)
In the US, 56.7 million people used wearables at least once a month in 2019
We learned some things about the global wearable technology market size. Now let’s turn to the US and check out some numbers provided by eMarketer:
Now that we’ve established some facts and numbers about the wearable technology market size in the US, let’s look into these gadgets’ penetration rate worldwide. These are the stats:
Here are some numbers by Statista about the penetration rate in the US. Wearable technology was used by 20.3 percent of adult Americans at least once a month in 2018.
(Source: MordorIntelligence / Statista)
The wearable technology industry is growing, and so are the sales.
Here’s some data from a wearable technology industry analysis by Mordor Intelligence:
How does the growth in the wearables market happen? Well, it’s mainly driven by smartwatch sales and shipments. In 2020, the shipments surpassed 100 million.
Earwear device sales are also expected to grow in the following years, with an increase of 45% between 2015 and 2023.
In just three years, the number of connected wearable devices has more than doubled. The number of connected devices is forecasted to reach more than 1 billion by 2022.
(Source: Builtin / Pipecandy)
Wearable health technology devices are essential to people who want to keep track of their health. Healthcare wearables like Ava, Gymwatch, Motiv, Apple Watch, Fitbit, and many more, allow people to have an active role in their healthcare.
Now, let’s check out some numbers.
According to Pipecandy, North America is the wearables tech leader, with a market share of 30% or $9.9 billion. Factors such as health awareness put countries like the US and Canada at the helm of the wearables industry.
Furthermore, urban areas have more users of health wearables than rural households—35% vs 30%, respectively. Fitness trackers and health apps tend to be a bit more prevalent among women than among men.
Wearables are on the rise!
According to a Mobile Consumer Survey conducted by Deloitte, the wearables market globally is predicted to rise to an amazing €77 billion, and the smartwatch market is expected to grow to €22 billion by 2022.
22% of the population owns a wearable device, and among them, three in five use it daily in 2020. That percentage was the same in 2019—22% (14% fitness bands and 10% smartwatches).
Do you want to find out more about the types of wearables that are most frequently used?
Smart wearable technology devices have slowly but surely moved forward these past years. The most popular wearable is the Apple Watch, from the smartwatch category, but new gadgets emerge almost by the day.
Let’s look at the types of wearables by category and find out more information about the most popular wearable technology around the world:
Research by Statista shows that the North American market is one of the largest globally, and US companies such as Google, Cisco, and IBM are some of the top names in the field.
The fact that the North American IoT market doubled over just a few years can be attributed to the wide range of applications and industries that can benefit from this increased connectivity of devices.
(Source: Pew Research)
According to a Pew Research Center survey from 2019, more than one in five US adults use a wearable fitness tracker very often.
Additionally, over 41% of Americans approve of these trackers being used for health monitoring purposes, such as tracking heart diseases and doing research. On the other hand, 35% of Americans think this is unacceptable because of privacy concerns.
(Source: Statista / DataBridge)
Sports wearable devices have been widely sold and shipped all around the world.
The number of shipped sports watches around the world in 2017 reached 18.6 million. Here are some numbers for the period between 2018 and 2020:
The global wearable sports devices market is predicted to grow. In 2018 the estimated value was $31.22 billion and was expected to reach $102.2 billion by 2026—a CAGR of 15.98% in the span of seven years.
Fitness trackers seem to be the most popular wearable technology on the market. When these gadgets came out, only people who were in sports bought them—30 million were sold worldwide in 2014.
However, in just five years, the number drastically rose. 223 million sports wearables were sold in 2019, and 300 million are expected to be sold by 2023.
The global medical market for wearables was valued at $13.2 billion in 2019. By 2029 this number will rise to $104.9 billion—a CAGR of 23.3%.
(Source: Statista / PRNewswire)
What exactly are smart glasses, and how do you use them?
Smart glasses are wearable computer glasses that add information to what the wearer sees. Cool, right? Now let’s find out some details about smart glasses.
Forecasts suggest that smart glasses unit shipments could grow from 225,000 in 2017 to around 32.7 million in 2022.
Additionally, there are wearables called augmented reality glasses. The shipments for these have been rising since 2016, when there were 150,000 units sold worldwide. This number is projected to reach 22.8 million by 2022.
Smart augmented reality glasses unit shipments globally from 2016 to 2022:
It’s estimated that the global smart glasses market will reach about $20 billion by 2022—up from $340.4 million in 2017 at a CAGR of 125.8% in the period between 2017 and 2022.
(Source: Statista )
Let’s see some numbers regarding the hearables market growth:
The entire wearables market, of which hearables currently make up the largest part, saw shipments of 368.2 million units in 2020 and is expected to reach 526.8 million in 2024.
According to IDC, the global wearable unit shipments were 85% higher in the second half of 2019 than in the previous year’s quarter, rising to 67.7 million units.
The category for hearables (such as earbuds or headphones) rose by 250% in 2019 compared to the previous year.
Here are some numbers by Statista about smartwatch device unit sales from 2016 to 2020 in the US:
Apple held the largest share of the global smartwatch market in the first quarter of 2020. Its 47.9% share was followed by Samsung’s—13.4%.
Apple sold 12 million smartwatches worldwide in 2015 when it launched the product, capturing 75% of the market within months. This number rose to 19 million by 2017.
Over the years, Apple lost some of its market shares as competitors such as Samsung released products like Galaxy Watch (in 2018).
(Source: Pew Research )
Are wearables used more frequently by men or women?
Let’s find out!
The ownership of wearables is inconsistent in different parts of the world:
Furthermore, while females are more likely to own activity trackers, 63% of smartwatch owners are male.
The category is still in its early days, and understanding who uses the products and who doesn’t could help the industry improve its products and broaden its appeal.
Which age groups are most likely to use these devices?
In the US, most of the users of the wearable are adults aged 25-34. Ericsson Consumer Lab research reveals that 24% of wearables users were teens and young adults aged 15-24 in 2016.
A global consumers survey conducted in October 2019 revealed the following increases in demand by age group:
18 to 24-year-olds—14.1%
25 to 34-year-olds—36.4%
35 to 44-year-olds—26.3%
45 to 54-year-olds—17.2%
55 to 64-year-olds—16.1%
Let’s compare the usage of wearables in different regions. Statista shares the following data:
A Statista Global Consumer Survey in 2019 found the percentage of people from different regions that use wearables:
In North America, these gadgets are widely used, while in some developing countries, this technology is still in its early stages in terms of adoption.
(Source: SaaS Scout)
As some of the wearables are expensive, people with higher income go for more expensive brands. A study from 2019 showed that:
As we can see from this study, people with medium income are the most common wearable technology users.
(Source: SaaS Scout / BrandonGaille)
The market for wearables reached over 25 billion units in 2020
As I mentioned before, the wearables industry is relatively new. The first Bluetooth headset was released in 2000, but a long time passed before these gadgets became mainstream. It’s been 20 years since then, and more than 325 million wearable units have been sold worldwide.
How often people use wearables depends on what type of device is in question. Let’s see some 2020 stats by the SaaS Scout Research Group that look at a couple of sub-categories:
By 2020, over 830 million wearable gadgets have been activated worldwide. Smartwatches are the main sold product globally, holding 52% of the market.
About 80 million basic wearables and 119 million wrist wearables were shipped worldwide in the same year.
(Source: MedGadget / Allied Market Research)
A MedGadget report found the following about wearables usage in the health industry:
Most Americans who have health wearables use them every day—90% of owners, to be precise. The size of the global fitness trackers market has been increasing since 2016, when it was valued at $17.9 billion, and is predicted to rise to $62.1 billion by 2023 with a CAGR of 19.6% in the period between 2016 and 2023.
(Source: Statista / Smartinsights )
Is the popularity and usage of wearables growing?
The upward wearable device trend is not slowing down.
Here are some stats by Statista with a wearable technology forecast about connected devices worldwide from 2016 to 2022:
Additionally, according to a 2017 report from Juniper Research:
Global shipments of wearable devices reached a total of 396 million units in 2020, according to data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker. This was a 14.5% increase from the 345.9 million units in 2019.
“Smartwatches and other wearables make many many measurements per day, at least 250,000, which is what makes them such powerful monitoring devices,” said Michael Snyder—Ph.D., and genetics chair at the Stanford School of Medicine.
Wearable technology device data from health devices help companies learn about vitals, habits, and progress, allowing them to make informed decisions about designing these products.
Listed below are the leading tech companies wearables, as identified by GlobalData:
More than half of the people (56%) worldwide own a wearable, highlighting the speed with which these devices entered our lives.
Wearable tech provides us with the ability to monitor our health, track our GPS location, and view text messages more quickly.
As technology develops, wearables have the potential to become even more beneficial in the near future.