Press release: 2:00PM GMT 14 April 2021, for immediate release.
In 2019, the global smartwatch market held a value of $20.6b and it’s estimated that it will reach just under $100b by 2027. Apple is currently leading the market but Giants like Facebook and Google are planning to enter the game very soon, potentially by 2022.
Of course, COVID-19 has had a dramatic impact on the market. Consumer demand has shifted towards smartwatches that track health. Particularly temperature and blood pressure to spot the issues as early as possible.
According to a 2019 Rock Health survey, the market appetite for digital health devices saw a 9% increase in adoption from the previous year. Consumers are leaning toward smartwatches that offer tracking for health as well as fitness.
Demand is owed to a wider breadth of users taking up wearables. Specifically, the older population is taking up devices from the likes of Apple and Fitbit, Garmin, and Samsung. Most brands have begun offering holistic approaches to health. Some also offer features like temperature, stress monitoring, blood pressure and ECG. Fitbit has reportedly begun a study on blood pressure tracking as well.
Health monitoring has become one of the most celebrated features of today’s wearables. This doesn’t just benefit fitness enthusiasts by offering data that complements their training efforts. It aids all people by divulging insight into potential conditions. The pandemic has affected the world population and we’re all more concerned about our overall wellness. There has been a clear increase in smartwatch shipments as a result.
Innovative wearables equipped with the latest health tech have a long life-span. This is driving down recurring revenue from existing customers. In response, brands are regularly developing new features to advance new variants of their health watches.
What are the main brands doing?
Fitbit is aiming for regulatory approval and clinical validation for its software. The aim is to detect health conditions such as atrial fibrillation and sleep apnea.
Apple is currently working on a revolutionary iPhone feature that can detect Parkinson’s Disease. We anticipate this would translate into the Apple Watch later on.
It’s rumoured that even Facebook is working on a health-tracking smartwatch for 2022 release.
Accelerometers are becoming commonplace. Using them could help to detect tremors and seizures. Particular attention is given to conditions such as epilepsy. Smartwatches not only pick up on the signs early on and could prevent long-term health damage, but they act as an SOS signal. Using fall detection features to alert designated contacts and getting medical attention faster.
Studies  are being done to determine how older people (65 and over) view their experience with smartwatches to find ways of domesticating their use. Early findings suggest positive regard for smartwatches in this age group relating to emergency help. In turn, the use of smartwatches helps in increasing physical activity and alleviating loneliness. There is optimism that this traditionally technology-hesitant group is coming around to wearables.
[Speaking specifically about PD research] Jason Hassenstab from Washington University  says:
“For years, we have been hearing from the tech-enthused faction of researchers about the untapped potential of wearables.”
Thankfully, that potential is fast becoming recognised.
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 Rosales, Andrea & Fernández-Ardèvol, Mireia & Comunello, Francesca & Mulargia, Simone & Ferran-Ferrer, Nuria. (2017). Older people and smartwatches, initial experiences. El Profesional de la Información. 26. 457. 10.3145/epi.2017.may.12.
 Channa A, Popescu N, Ciobanu V. Wearable Solutions for Patients with Parkinson’s Disease and Neurocognitive Disorder: A Systematic Review. Sensors (Basel). 2020 May 9;20(9) PubMed.
Last Updated on June 3, 2021