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Over the next few years, healthcare providers and fitness buffs will do their part to help lift the market for wearable devices.
In a forecast released today by IndustryARC, a market research practice based in India, the company said it expects wearable medical devices to ring up $41.3 billion in sales by 2020. The segment will expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.3 percent.
Healthcare providers will drive much of that demand as aging populations turn to wearable devices to help maintain their independence, indicates the analyst group's forecast. "In 2014, the home-healthcare constituted the largest end-user group, accounting for 68 percent of the global wearable medical device market revenue," said IndustryARC in a statement.
Last year, health monitoring and diagnostic wearables nabbed the majority share (78 percent) of the global wearable medical device market. By 2020, the segment will generate $34.4 billion, said IndustryARC. As populations also grow more health conscious, the firm also expects the sports and fitness wearables segment to swell at a CAGR of 22.2 percent through 2020.
The leading wearable medical device companies are Zephyr Technology, Omron Healthcare, Basis Science, Sotera Wireless, and Polar Electro. But Philips Healthcare, ResMed and Fitbit will keep them on their toes, said IndustryARC.
Add Microsoft to the list of companies looking to stake a claim on consumers' wrists.
The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant just announced that it is ramping up distribution of its health and fitness wearable, the Microsoft Band, which has been tough for buyers to find on store shelves since it launched in October. Not only will Microsoft Stores and select U.S. retailers (Amazon, Best Buy and Target) make more Bands available in the coming weeks, the company is making a move into the U.K. on April 15.
"The UK is a mature mobile market with 7 in 10 adults regularly accessing the internet via mobile devices," stated Matt Barlow, general manager of New Devices for Microsoft, in a March 17 company blog post.
"Recent studies have shown an increase in adoption of both free and paid health and fitness apps and devices, and we've seen research that suggests an estimated 7 million people are already using fitness-focused wearable devices in the UK, with that number expected to nearly double by the end of 2015," he added, citing a forecast from Kantar Media.
Meanwhile, all eyes are on the impending arrival of Apple Watch, which includes health and fitness tracking features.
Earlier this month, Strategy Analytics predicted that Apple would capture 54.8 percent of the smartwatch market this year, on shipments of 15.4 million Apple Watches. CCS Insight weighed in last month with a rosier forecast of 20 million Apple Watches sold in 2015.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.