Smartwatch shipments, revenue to decline this year; recovery to begin in 2021

Smartwatch shipments, revenue to decline this year; recovery to begin in 2021
The wearable tech market remains strong and the future is bright according to analysis firm GlobalData. The latter reports that the wearable tech market generated $27 billion in revenue last year and that figure is expected to rise to $64 billion by 2024. The major segment of the wearable tech market, smartwatches, has declined since the beginning of the pandemic but will start recovering beginning next year. GlobalData predicts a 9% drop in shipments of connected timepieces this year due to the pandemic, with a concomitant 10% decline in smartwatch revenue due to the global recession caused by the worldwide spread of the virus.

Tina Deng, Master of Science, Senior Medical Devices Analyst at GlobalData, said, "Compared with wearables with specific medical purposes, smartwatches for general population are more vulnerable to the pandemic-related economic recession. Most consumers do not currently see significant value in smartwatches, primarily because most of the functionality available on smartwatches can already be found on smartphones. However, the current low penetration rate shows that there is plenty of scope for growth in the coming years.

Recent advances are providing value for healthcare with a focus on diagnosis, treatment, monitoring, and prevention. These advantages are felt through the entire healthcare value chain with benefits including personalization, early diagnosis, remote patient monitoring, adherence to medication, information libraries, and better decision-making while reducing healthcare costs. Growing demand and functionality has gathered the attention of insurers and companies in the supply of wearable health technology to consumers and employees for their wide-ranging benefits. As a result, the wearable technology market will grow robustly in the foreseeable future."

More smartwatches this year will be sporting (with FDA approval) a pulse oximeter which provides blood oxygen saturation readings. This is taken by monitoring a red light as it passes through a fingertip. The amount of light that is absorbed by the fingertip is calculated by a sensor. The normal oxygen level or saturation (Sp02) is 95%. A person suspected to have COVID-19 with an Sp02 reading of 90% or below should seek medical consultation immediately. A reading of 85% or lower could require that the patient be given oxygen to breathe; if the Sp02 shows a saturation of 80% or lower, a chronic disease could be involved. A pulse oximeter reveals how well a person's blood is circulating throughout his or her body.

We could see the smartwatch market get a boost as soon as next year from the long awaited launch of a Google Pixel Watch. Google is still waiting to close on its purchase of Fitbit and it recently ordered Samsung to produce a movement tracker chip that could have been designed for a smartwatch.
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