Care of the elderly is set to be the next major target market for makers of smart clothing.
ABI Research predicts that companies currently making smart clothing for athletes and fitness fanatics, are increasingly looking for new markets.
Integrating digital intelligence and connectivity into clothing for older people is seen as the next frontier in development, the company predicts, with the smart clothing industry creating over 18 million clothing articles annually by 2021, a 48% CAGR.
“Smart clothing today targets mostly sports professionals,” says Ryan Harbison, research analyst at ABI Research. “However, the forward-looking brands are pursuing worker and public servant safety, interactive gaming, children’s health monitoring, and the elder care markets. New market segments not only expand the addressable market but also serve to prove that the technology can perform in a broader and more austere set of environmental conditions and applications.”
Innovative players driving adoption include Athos, Heddoko, Hexoskin, Mimo, Mondevices, OMsignal, Owlet, Sensoria, and Textronics.
And recently joining these brands are giants such as Ralph Lauren, Google and Levi’s. Given the market’s growing popularity, ABI Research expects it will only be a matter of time before some of the larger tech players enter this space, too.
“The biggest challenge for this segment is ruggedising the technology that makes the clothing smart,” concludes Harbison. “But as is the case in all IoT (Internet of Things) markets, partnerships will be even more critical to create durable, practical, and fashionable products that consumers want and are willing to pay a premium price.”