Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Health monitoring, fitness apps to propel sensor shipments: IHS

Iain Morris
October 22, 2014
Shipments of sensors used in wearable electronic devices are set to rise by a factor of seven between 2013 and 2019, driven by rising demand for fitness and health monitoring features, according to new research from IHS Technology.

The market for sensors in wearables will grow to 466 million units in 2019, up from 67 million units in 2013, according to the company.

Sensor growth will surpass device growth, according to IHS, which reckons the number of wearables in use will increase to 135 million in 2019, compared with 50 million last year.

“Wearables are a hotbed for sensors, with market growth driven by the increasing number of these components in each product sold,” said Jeremie Bouchaud, director and senior principal analyst of MEMS and sensors at IHS Technology.

“The main factor propelling this phenomenon is a transition in market share away from simple products like pedometers and toward more sophisticated multipurpose devices such as smartwatches and smartglasses,” added Bouchaud. “Instead of using a single sensor like the simpler devices, the more complex products employ numerous components for health and activity monitoring, as well as for their more advanced user interfaces.”

HIS says the average wearable device shipped in 2019 will include 4.1 sensor elements, up from just 1.4 in 2013.

The market-research player also notes that smartphone brands are becoming increasingly aware that wearables represent a better platform for some types of sensors than mobile handsets.

It expects components like humidity sensors and pulse sensors to move from handsets to wearable devices – such as new smart watches being introduced by Samsung, Apple and others – further boosting shipments of sensors.

IHS also points out that wearables are increasingly using sensors for fitness monitoring using motion or health sensors.

“The use of these types of sensors reflects consumer preferences that are propelling the growth of the wearables market,” said Bouchaud. “Users want health and fitness monitoring, and they want wearable devices that act as extensions of their smartphones.”

“However, there’s no real demand from consumers for environmental sensors,” he added. “Instead, the rising adoption of environmental sensors such as humidity and UV devices is being pushed by both sensor suppliers and wearable original equipment manufacturers.”
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