Juniper Research is bumping up its predictions for the fitness wearables sector in a big way. In a new report, the market research firm predicts that the sector will see more than $10 billion in revenues from hardware by the year 2020, a major revision of a $3.3 billion estimate from earlier this year.
The firm attributes much of the increase to wristband fitness tracking devices. But it also asserts that smart clothing is going to enjoy a higher profile as it becomes more deeply integrated in watching sports; Juniper Research notes in a synopsis that the NFL has teamed up with Zebra Technologies and Microsoft “to produce live visualisations of data and new ways for fans to understand each game.” Juniper Research also asserts that highly advanced biometric capabilities are becoming increasingly popular, and that while fitness devices are currently the most popular kind of wearables, “the increasing range of feature-rich smartwatches means that they will be more popular by 2019.”
Interestingly, wearables could have particularly powerful effects on professional athletes themselves, according to research author James Moar. “Without clear boundaries for data ownership and use,” he said, “biometrics could become part of sports players’ contracts, and even dictate initial hiring practices through predictive analytics.” It’s a possibility that is already starting to get attention, and could prove disruptive as increasingly advanced technology finds its way onto athletes’ bodies.