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Connected clothing growth set to surge, as smartwatches slow, in wearable sector

Tyrone Stewart

Levi Google Jacquard CommuterConnected clothing is set to lead wearable growth over the next two years, as consumers move away from smartwatches, fitness trackers, and other wrist-based devices.

Overall, the smart wearables market is expected to reach almost 350m devices shipped by 2020, with smart clothing growing 102 per cent to reach 7m shipments and seeing further impressive growth to reach 30m in 2022, according to Juniper Research. This is way down on the 190m wrist-based devices expected to be shipped in the same year, but growth is slowing with shipments increasing from 137m this year. Smartwatches, in particular, will only grow by 21 per cent over the next two years.

Juniper’s research suggests that with device types broadening and purchase cycles lengthening, companies will need to focus on software and data services to maintain their revenues in the wearable sector. The largest market for these services is healthcare, which is expected to exceed $2.5bn by 2022.

“A key challenge for wearables is to provide a concrete benefit or unique data,” said research author James Moar. “All our top growth segments either provide in-depth data from specialised form factors, or benefits that do not involve data at all.”