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Wearable Tech in Sport - Thematic Research

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  • 35 Pages
  • September 2021
  • Region: Global
  • GlobalData
  • ID: 5471094
An analysis of the current wearable tech industry, and its various intersections with sport in the modern world.

Wearable tech is connected devices and, as such, fit into the broader IoT landscape. The applications and usage for wearable tech has grown in prevalence over recent years, with at home fitness solutions becoming more popular with consumers, and the sports and healthcare industries using them more frequently.

The growing willingness of consumers to access smartphone-like features from their smartwatches remains a major growth driver for smartwatches. Sensor-driven health and fitness information access, contactless payment, the ability to play music, location tracking, and the customization potential of bands and watch faces, are some of the most popular smartwatch features. Smartwatch penetration was measured at 3% in 2020, and will have increased to 14% by 2030, according to the Publisher estimates.

Hearables represent the largest segment of the wearable tech industry by revenue. Driven by the success of Apple AirPods, several companies (including Samsung Electronics, Google, Sony, GN Group, Bose, and Nuheara) are investing in in-ear computing devices. These companies are pushing use cases for hearables beyond listening to audio content (like music and podcasts) into areas such as hands-free directions, biometric measurements, guided fitness and wellness coaching, and online food ordering.

The shrinking popularity of fitness trackers in mature markets is because the latest smartwatches can do everything a fitness tracker can, and more. As well as traditional fitness tracker offerings like step counts, calorie tracking, sleep pattern analysis, etc., smartwatches also provide features like the ability to take an ECG directly from the user’s wrist, non-invasive glucose monitoring, fall detection, and social connectivity. Fitness trackers’ small displays also reduce the ability for them to offer smartwatch-like features.

Smart clothing is in its infancy but will become a $1bn market by 2023. Advances in sensor technologies and the development of advanced materials such as nanofibers, hybrid materials, and electronic wools will drive this segment's growth. Several other factors will also drive expansion, including demand for fitness products, increased interest from industries such as healthcare and defense, and growing investments from both tech giants and start-ups.

Key Highlights

  • The wearable tech industry was worth $59bn in 2020, up from $52bn in 2019, and will grow to reach $310bn by 2030, expanding at a CAGR of 18%, according to the Publisher forecasts. Hearables accounted for more than 60% of the wearable tech market in 2020, driven mainly by demand for Apple AirPods and the growth of brands such as Samsung Electronics, Google, Sony, Jabra, and Nuheara. Smartwatches accounted for 26% of the wearable tech market in 2020, driven mainly by demand for Apple Watches and the growth of brands such as Xiaomi, Huawei, Garmin, and Samsung Electronics.
  • The lion’s share of the industry’s growth in the next ten years will come from hearables and smartwatches, while the popularity of fitness trackers will wane due to their limited capabilities when compared to smartwatches. Other devices such as smart clothing, AR headsets, VR headsets, and smart glasses are still in the early stages of development.
  • At the forefront of wearable tech for sports are Catapult Sports and STATSports, who are the biggest providers of wearable tech for professional sports teams. Both specialize in GPS technology, which helps track positions on the field, while other companies such as VX Sport and VALD Performance specialize in dealing with injury prevention, which can be extremely costly for teams.
  • GPS systems used to track player locations after often problematic, as they rely on satellite data to function. They can’t be used indoors or in fields with large overhangs, due to the interference. This makes them somewhat limited for some sports, and there can be problems even in outdoor venues with large stands, as players who get to close to the stands may see problems with the transmission of data.
  • The devices also have to be small enough to ensure that they are not invasive to the athletes. Many of these devices come outfitted in shirts, vests and bands, and these may be considered more uncomfortable to wear, especially in a professional game, where an athlete strives to be as comfortable as possible to maximize performance.


  • This report provides an overview of the development of the wearable tech industry in recent years, and how sports teams have begun utilising the tech to maximise success.
  • It identifies the key trends currently dominating the wearable tech industry, and pinpoints the drivers in growth over the last few years, including the leaders and trendsetters.
  • The report provides a detailed analysis of the upside of wearable tech, as well as the challenges that wearable tech has to face currently and will continue to face in the future.
  • A look at the potential future of wearable tech, and projections on how much the industry could grow in the coming years.
  • A detailed look at the wearable tech value chain, and how different areas of the sector generates revenue and business.

Reasons to Buy

  • For those wanting an in-depth analysis of how wearable tech has developed, and entered into the sports world, and the challenges facing this intersection in the future.
  • For those wanting a sense of the current performance of many of the dominant tech giants that are working in the space currently, as well as a detailed analysis of the different kinds of wearable tech, and the leaders in each sector.
  • The Publisher’s thematic research ecosystem is a single, integrated global research platform that provides an easy-to-use framework for tracking all themes across all companies in all sectors. It has a proven track record of identifying the important themes early, enabling companies to make the right investments ahead of the competition, and secure that all-important competitive advantage.

Table of Contents

1. Executive Summary

2. Players

3. Trends
3.1. Technology trends
3.2 Industry trends
3.3 Macroeconomic trends

4. Industry Analysis

5. Applications of wearable tech in sport

6. Value chain

7. Companies

8. Further reading

9. Our thematic research methodology

10. About the Publisher

11. Contact the Publisher

Companies Mentioned (Partial List)

A selection of companies mentioned in this report includes, but is not limited to:

  • Premier League
  • NFL
  • MLB
  • Alphabet
  • Apple
  • Catapult Sports
  • Garmin
  • Huawei
  • Microsoft
  • Poly
  • Qualcomm
  • Samsung
  • Sony
  • STATSports
  • Xiaomi
  • Vuzix