COVID-19 a ‘significant’ factor in wearable device adoption, market surge

Stay at home orders, furlough, and work from home trends are expected to spur on the industry.

The smart wearable technology industry is expected to surge to $81.5 billion in 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

On Tuesday, Gartner said renewed interest in the market has become a catalyst for growth, increasing worldwide spending by 18.1%, in comparison to an estimated overall spend of $69 billion in 2020. 

Smartwatches and fitness trackers may have secured a larger user base due to stay at home orders, business closures, and furloughs prompted by the spread of COVID-19. 

However, it is not just individuals that are interested in improving their health and wellness during the pandemic that is spurring the market on -- work from home trends, too, are a major contributing factor. 

When the coronavirus pandemic entered its first wave, businesses across the globe began rapidly shifting their operations to allow staff to work from home, when possible. As a result, remote work gear was in high demand -- not just desks, laptop cameras, or mobile devices -- but also ear-worn devices such as headsets. 

"The introduction of health measures to self-track COVID-19 symptoms, along with increasing interest from consumers in their personal health and wellness during global lockdowns, presented a significant opportunity for the wearables market," commented Ranjit Atwal, senior research director at Gartner. "Ear-worn devices and smartwatches are seeing particularly robust growth as consumers rely on these devices for remote work, fitness activities, health tracking and more."

The research agency says that worldwide spending on smartwatches will increase from an estimated $18.5 billion in 2018 to a projected $25.8 billion in 2021, and sales are expected to reach $31.3 billion by 2022. 

Investment in ear-worn devices, including headsets and headphones, has increased by roughly 124% in comparison to 2019 sales rates, and is forecast to go from $32.7 billion in 2020 to $39.2 billion this year -- surging again to $44.1 billion in 2021.

"This massive growth can be largely attributed to remote workers upgrading their headphones for video calling and consumers purchasing headphones the use with their smartphone devices," the research agency says.    

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