December 11, 2012

Does Patient Care Wearable Sensor Market Lack Size and Scale Through 2017? by Jim Bloedau

After being an emergent market for the last four years, wireless wearable health device manufacturers shipped nearly 30 million units in 2012, up from almost 21 million in 2011.  This growth is expected to continue through 2017 and produce a CAGR exceeding 41 percent from the shipping of 169 million units, according to a recent  ABI research report. The report predicts that fitness or activity trackers will account for 60 percent of the devices and 23 percent will be for monitoring seniors aging in their homes. Collectively, only 14 percent of these devices will be care oriented and equally split between remote patient monitoring and point of care use.

The cause for this explosion is cited as the rise of imbedded blue tooth connectivity into smartphones and then the integration of a number of wearable devices that mostly monitor consumer-oriented sports and fitness activity.  These devices are characterized as non-invasive (meaning nothing  penetrates the body), utilize wireless connectivity, and are related in some way to monitoring health.  Polar, Garmin, Nike and Adidas are the leading shippers of wearable devices with start-ups not even close, according ABI.  

Earlier in the year, the wearable's market was estimated to be worth $1.5 billion in 2014 by  Juniper Research and  $6 billion in 2016 by IMS.

Given that this report sees the wearable device market for patient care counting for only 14 percent of the market, then by extrapolation, the market offers a $210 to $840 million opportunity to developers.  Is this large enough for all the vendors that are offering solutions to pursue??  When could we expect consolidation?

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