Affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, wearable device growth slowed to 5 percent this year from 28 percent last year, according to ABI Research, a global tech market advisory firm.
ABI Research said wearable shipments in 2020 are now expected to be 254 million, down from the previously forecasted 281 million.
Despite the large drop, the overall increase is still positive, with 254 million shipments still expected to be slightly higher than the 241 million shipments in 2019. It's just that the expected increase is only 5%, which is much lower than the 23% increase from 2018 to 2019.
"While wearables will see fewer shipments this year than originally expected, shipments of devices that can track and monitor healthcare vitals has lowered the impact," says Stephanie Tomsett, research analyst at ABI Research.
"Healthcare wearables are already being utilized to help track the progression of COVID-19 and monitor patients remotely."
Also, things could improve next year as the economy slowly recovers and consumers become more health conscious.
Many devices, such as those from Apple, Samsung, Fitbit, Withings and OPPO, are or are expected to soon offer advanced monitoring features such as ECG tracking, sleep apnea detection, arrhythmia detection and blood oxygen tracking.
Integrating these features into a device, especially a smartwatch, plus the fact that it already has several other features, allows the user to use one device for different purposes instead of multiple devices.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a higher health awareness to all individuals around the world. Wearables with advanced health monitoring features will begin to buoy the wearables market in the second half of 2020 and pave the way for 289 million wearable shipments by 2021 and 329 million by 2022 as the world recovers from the pandemic," concludes Tomsett.