Wearable electronic devices for fitness shipments are forecast to reach 68.1 million units in 2015 according to a recent report from Gartner. 2014 was definitely a big year for wrist-worn fitness wearables, especially smart wristbands from the likes of Fitbit and Jawbone. But according to Gartner, 2015 will start to see the fitness wearable landscape shift away from the wrist and onto our bodies with the emergence of a new fitness wearable category, smart garments.
Gartner's recent wearables report published at the end of 2014 suggests that the fitness wearables category will see the most growth from smart garments. In fact, they predict that smart garments will jump from 0.1 million global shipments in 2014 to over 10 million this year reaching 26 million by 2016. By 2016, Gartner expects smart garments to be the predominate device in the fitness wearables category beating out smart wristbands and sports watches and other fitness monitors.
We Are Wearables Toronto featured smart clothing leader, Hexoskin, back in June of this year at a connected clothing event which saw CEO and Founder, Pierre Fournier show us his heart and breathing rate in real-time on stage in a live demo. Hexoskin was first-to-market with its smart shirt back, shipping to its Indiegogo backers in March of 2014. Hexoskin's shirt (which caters to both men and women) have been used by the Canadian Space Agency as well as Olympic Athletes such as Sochi 2014 Olympic medalists the Dufour-Lapointe sisters. In November, Hexoskin announced a new product for the cold weather, the Hexoskin Arctic. The shirt is a warmer version of the original smart shirt featuring sleeves, a collar, and use of a new textile similar to Merino wool.
This month, the January 2015 event in Toronto will feature OMSignal, another leader in the smart garment space, also from Montreal. OMSignal made major news last year by partnering with Ralph Lauren on a line of connected polos which were used in the US Open. OMSignals also hit a major milestone at the end of 2014 in beginning to ship its smart shirts to pre-orders. CEO and Co-Founder, Stephane Marceau, will take the stage on January 13 at the MaRS Discovery District Centre to demo OMSignal and talk to We Are Wearables founder, Tom Emrich, about the impact of biometric clothing on the fitness and professional athlete space.
Hexoskin and OMSignal are expected to have further competition in 2015 as San Francisco smart garment startup, Athos, is expected to launch its smart shirt and smart shorts this year. And rumors have surfaced that both adidas and Nike are looking to enter this space.