Many products from maturing, growing, and niche wearable segments made their debut at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week. With the primary use case of wearable technology expanding beyond fitness, an eclectic variety of users are being targeted with the most recent wave of wearable launches, including fashion followers, parents, health patients, gamers, and more. Vendors are making strides in wearables outside of fitness trackers and smart watches, choosing to invest in wearable jewelry, smart clothing, med tech, and consumer health devices.
Smart watch manufacturers seem to be trending away from developing innovative features and instead sticking close to consumer-approved features that enhance product functionality (e.g. the Casio WSD-F20 watch adding GPS capabilities that were lacking in previous generations).
Smart clothing and jewelry is one of the wearable segments that will see the most growth, due initially to fitness/wellness and fashion offerings from established sportswear and designer companies with a large marketing spend and then spurred by multipurpose technological convenience in the form of near-field communication payments, GPS tracking, notifications, and more.
In the past few years, there has been a surge of wearables focused on soon-to-be and new parents – indicating another target segment for wearable penetration in the near future. With the influx of wearable med tech, consumers may be more willing to invest in certain products given two crucial things: first, that there is credence behind product functionality (ideally through a government agency such as the FDA), and second, that there is a complementary decline in healthcare costs (e.g. fewer necessary doctor or physical therapist visits).
Rishi Kaul, Research Analyst, Consumer Technology
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