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Wrist-worn category to reach nearly 400m shipments in 2028 as assisted living brings fresh revenue streams for wearables

2023 was an encouraging year for the global wrist-worn wearables market, with new figures from Futuresource Consulting showing an 8% market expansion. This growth has been achieved despite supply chain difficulties in the first half of 2023, and the cost-of-living crisis deterring consumers from purchasing wearables.

A solid platform for wearables growth

“Last year’s success has laid the foundations for continued growth in the market,” says Nikolaos Tzoumerkas, Market Analyst, Futuresource Consulting. “Inflation is now falling at a faster rate than previously expected, and the global economy is returning to normality. While emerging markets continued to expand in 2023, Western Europe is now entering a phase of recovery and will add to the vendor opportunity. Combine this with a slow-but-steady reduction in consumer electronics prices and we’ll see those wallets and purses opening again.”

Assisted living on the up

“Although from a lower base, elderly watches shipments powered through 2023 to achieve 82% growth, and an annual total of two million units. Major telco companies have collaborated with incumbent brands to bring the products to a wider audience. The expansions in Assisted Living Facilities (ALF) will inject growth and innovations in wearables, notably the elderly watches segment. The number of licensed beds continues to increase - doubling in the US alone last year. In addition, remote monitoring is a core branding point of these facilities. Elderly watches have a natural fit with ALFs owing to the accuracy of monitoring, lack of battery issues and FDA approvals.

Smartwatches still ahead, but sports watches gaining ground

Looking to the product types, smartwatches continue to lead the way, accounting for around 40% of total wrist-worn wearables shipped in 2023. Apple still holds the largest market share here, but lost more than 12 percentage points, and now accounts for just over half of all smartwatch sales.

Sports watches grew by 30% in units in 2023. Much of the dynamism of the segment can be attributed to the rise of domestic brands in India, where performance has exceeded previous expectations, and accounts for 50% of global shipments.

Future opportunities for smart rings and AI

Looking to 2024 and beyond, Futuresource notes that smart rings are beginning to move towards the mainstream. Not only has Samsung’s announcement of the Galaxy Ring been received with enthusiasm, patents have also been issued by Apple, hinting at the tech giant’s entrance into the space.

“Ones to watch also include wearables focused on women, previously considered to be a market gap due to the current one-size-fits-all approach. We saw Garmin take the initiative at CES in January, with the announcement of the Lily 2, which addresses women’s health and wellness issues.

“AI is also creating new opportunities for vendors in the segment. Most of the big brands utilise machine learning algorithms to bring actionable, personalised data to users. At the same time, sports watches are already seeing the benefits of developing software that offers dietary and activity suggestions to the user. With all this market activity, by 2028 we expect the wrist-worn wearables market to swell to almost 400 million units shipped, achieving a CAGR of 16.5%.”

Futuresource Consulting’s Global Wearables Market Outlook report provides analysis and forecasts out to 2028. For more information on this report or to make a purchase, please contact Leon Morris at

Date Published:

Nikolaos Tzoumerkas

About the author

Nikolaos Tzoumerkas

Nikolaos Tzoumerkas is a Market Analyst in the Consumer Electronics team at Futuresource Consulting. Having joined in January of 2023, his main research focus includes the segments of wearables, where he tracks smartwatches and sports watches among others, and XR where he tracks all the major types of hardware technology. Nikolaos has also worked on tablets and smartphones giving him a holistic overview of the personal electronics sector.

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