Health wearables market to hit $17.8B by 2021

The healthcare wearable device market is projected to hit $17.8 billion in revenue by 2021 as the industry undergoes what a new report describes as a big transformation.

Digital health will be a driver in more efficient, affordable and wide ranging healthcare and wearables are pushing healthcare into the digital age, according to a new Tractica market forecast. The top device leaders will be fitness trackers and smartwatches.

The 2015 wearables market saw a 139.4 percent growth rate, from 35.5 million shipments in 2014 to 85 million last year; that figure is expected to hit 560 million by 2021. The No. 1 device revenue generator is the Apple Watch, which, despite lower than projected unit sales, hit $5.5 billion in revenue for 2015.

"Overall, wearables are part of a macro trend where computing is diverging from the smartphone and moving onto the body, driven by sensors, machine learning, big data analytics, and the need for more efficient user interfaces that can allow technology to fade into the background," the report's authors say.

According to ABI Research, increasing competition and sales abroad drove an 80 percent spike in activity tracker shipments in 2015; what's more, consumer demand is projected to hit 87 million devices in 2021, and the wearable device adoption rate is spurring use of connected medical services.

The Tractica report also notes that corporate wellness programs, which are increasing in number and scope, will play a factor in driving wearable use. Activity trackers and an Internet-based based platform to promote exercise as part of a corporate workplace wellness effort can motivate employees to be more active, according to a Journal of Medical Internet Research study.

"Corporate wellness is expected to experience growth and increasing adoption levels, which will drive both the enterprise and healthcare markets," according to the Tractica report.

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