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Analyst: Health, fitness wireless ICs to post strong growth

04 Aug 2014

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According to the latest report from IHS, wireless connectivity semiconductors in health and fitness devices are forecast to log solid double-digit growth this year and beyond, especially as various wireless technologies make their way into a growing number of wearable devices.

Shipments this year for wireless semiconductors in health and fitness will reach a projected 61.2 million units, up 11 per cent from 55 million in 2013. The expected strong expansion for this year continues the robust growth of 2012 and 2013. And the market shows little signs of slowing, with shipments in 2018 climbing to 95.78 million units.

Global forecast for health and fitness wireless ICs

The overall health and fitness market covered by the forecast includes the sports and fitness segment on the one hand, as well as the adjacent market for health and wellness on the other. While overlaps exist between the two segments, there are also subtle differences.

For instance, data and activity sharing by wireless means is more common in sports and fitness as consumers happily disclose the results of their improving fitness levels. In contrast, sharing is not as widespread in health and wellness, where disease management is largely private and carefully guarded by the affected individuals.

Yet the fitness market as a whole is particularly receptive to wireless connectivity.

"Because most health and fitness devices are mobile, wireless connectivity is important," said Lee Ratliff, principal analyst for connectivity at IHS. "And because these wireless mobile devices are in most cases also wearable and thus require a small form-factor, they cannot be power hogs and must support low-energy consumption to have the best chance of succeeding in the consumer market."

Wireless connectivity mainly serves two purposes, Ratliff noted. Especially in sports and fitness applications, wireless connectivity is often used to provide a link to remote sensors when wired connectivity is too cumbersome. Examples here include linking heart-rate chest straps to wrist-worn heart-rate monitors, or linking wheel-speed sensors to cycling computers.

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