Special Feature
Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: CES 2014: What the Professionals Need to Know

CEA report hints at boom coming for health wearable tech

If wearables have one shot at making it big, then the health sector is where it will be.


If wearables have one shot at making it big, then the health sector is where it will be. And 2014 will only be the beginning, based on a new report from the Consumer Electronics Association.

Published in conjunction with market research firm Parks Associates, the report projects that revenue for "personal health and wellness product sales and software and service revenues" will leap by more than 142 percent over the next five years.

The brief doesn't exactly spell it out, but that jump will undoubtedly be fueled by the expansion of the wearable technology market.

One of the roadblocks for this sector overall is that casual consumers and tech amateurs probably still only think of flashy concept products, such as Google Glass, when mulling over the future (and viability) of wearable tech.

But for the time being, health and fitness proves to be one area where wearable technology not only makes sense but we can all already see it being put in practice with valuable results. Anyone who flipped through a holiday gift guide during the last few weeks, whether online or in a magazine, must have come across at least one smart watch or connected fitness band.

The existing data tracking abilities (and possibilities) for even just basic vital metrics are helping propel devices such as the Nike+ FuelBand, FitBit, and even Whistle, an activity monitoring device for pets.

Looking forward, researchers behind the CEA report found that 29 percent of mobile phone users with health problems are already willing to try such devices to track conditions and work toward health and fitness goals.

Thus, the CEA and Parks Associates analysts projected that the number of personal health and wellness products will jump from more than 40 million in 2013 to 70 million by 2018, eventually evolving into a market worth more than $8 billion within that time frame.

The publication timing of this report is no coincidence either given that the CEA's annual extravaganza, the Consumer Electronics Show, kicks off in Las Vegas in just a few days. Wearables are expected to be one of the big ticket trends on the agenda this year, with surely many more health-specific devices unveiled over the week.

But this will also be one of the big opportunities that tech giants have to demonstrate use cases for wearable tech beyond just healthcare.