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Wearable Tech Sector Could Reach $90 Billion By 2020 - Julius Baer

Tom Burroughes

17 July 2017

The market for “wearable” technology could be as high as $90 billion by the end of this decade, according to , the Swiss private bank. 

Wearables are set to be the next wave of mobile computing, lending a consumer edge to the Internet of Things. Leading hardware and technology businesses are working hard to develop innovative solutions that will help them ride the wearable technology wave, the bank, which operates across a number of regions, including area, said in a recent comment.

It is now a commonplace observation that financial services are moving onto mobile tablets and other platforms that fit with modern life and a desire to read and track information “on the go”. An element of this has been the trend of what can be loosely called wearable technology. Wristbands, watches and even clothing, so it is said, can be “smart” and carry information. (Consider the idea of using a gadget on a wrist to monitor physical exercise and then hook that data up with an insurance provider to affect health plan costs, for example.) This seems to be a growing area, opening up investment ideas. 

“Although we think that wearable technology is at an early stage and far from gaining widespread acceptance, there is potential for wearables to become a $90 billion market by 2020,” according to Fabiano Vallesi, Next Generation Research Analyst at Julius Baer.

The idea of wearables isn’t new; Vallesi noted that various military forces have been developing headgear for pilots since the 1960s and calculator watches have existed since the 1970s. 

“What is new is the potential broader appeal to the consumer market. Given the advances in miniaturising circuitry, sensors, battery and wireless technology, wearables are becoming ever smaller and more user friendly, greatly increasing the potential applications of these technologies,” he said.

“The potential applications of this emerging technology are vast. Wearables could, for example, allow people to personally monitor their own health around the clock, while automatically sharing the gathered health data with doctors, which could potentially improve therapy outcomes. Wearables could also collect context-specific information serving real-time needs, consequently increasing convenience and potentially having a positive impact on lifestyle, work, and safety,” Vallesi continued.

Wearables are a big challenge to parts of the smartphone sector, he said. “As growth in smartphone sales in the developed countries has levelled off and only the USD 150-and-below smart-phone category is expanding in emerging markets, the industry needs shaking up once again,” he said.

In their different forms, wearables will likely lead to significant changes in behaviour addressing a potential $1.6 trillion market, which centres on fitness, health, insurance, fashion, payments, entertainment, home automation, and advertising, the analyst added.