Smart clothing expected to lead wearable growth, research says

As smartwatches and fitness trackers slow, connected garments will surge
Wareable is reader-powered. If you click through using links on the site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

A new study from Juniper Research suggests that wearable growth is slowing in smartwatches and fitness trackers, with smart clothing expected to take over the mantle.

According to the firm, the total market for smart wearables will top 350 million devices by 2020, with wrist-based trackers making up around 190 million of that figure. That's only up on the 137 million expected to ship during 2018, with Juniper citing fewer fresh features and a software focus as the reason for the limited growth.

Read next: The biggest benefits of smart clothing

Instead, connected clothing, thanks to developments in conductive fabric and sportswear developments from the likes of Under Armour, Sensoria and Lumo, will see the biggest growth, the company says. While only shifting 7 million units by 2020, this is expected to boom to 30 million by 2022 — something that was also suggested in another report from Juniper last month, which also spoke to the future of hearables.

The research - Smart Wearables: Competitor Strategies, Opportunities & Forecasts 2018-2022 - suggests smart clothing will see growth due to the types of wearables within the space broadening and purchase cycles lengthening, while companies are also expected to focus on software and data services in order to maintain their market.

Naturally, the biggest area within these subscription services is forecast to be healthcare, with services payable to vendors such as AlivCor exceeding $2.5 billion by 2022.

Of course, this isn't the first time we've seen the area of smart clothing tipped for success. However, it's also important to take any forecasts such as this with a pinch of salt. While smart clothing does indeed have potential, only time will tell if it's able to meet lofty expectations.

Smart clothing expected to lead wearable growth, research says

How we test

Conor Allison


Conor moved to Wareable Media Group in 2017, initially covering all the latest developments in smartwatches, fitness trackers, and VR. He made a name for himself writing about trying out translation earbuds on a first date and cycling with a wearable airbag, as well as covering the industry’s latest releases.

Following a stint as Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint, Conor returned to Wareable Media Group in 2022 as Editor-at-Large. Conor has become a wearables expert, and helps people get more from their wearable tech, via Wareable's considerable how-to-based guides. 

He has also contributed to British GQ, Wired, Metro, The Independent, and The Mirror. 

Related stories