Report: 35M connected wearable patches will ship annually by 2022

By Dave Muoio
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Connected wearable patch makers will ship 35.1 million units annually by 2022, with 80 percent of these being used in clinical applications, according to a recent report from market intelligence firm Tractica.

The report also forecasts a total $7.9 billion in revenue for the patch market by the same year, all of which suggests a substantial escalation from the 966,000 units the analysts wrote will ship within the current year.

The report’s authors noted an increasing number of competing patches entering the market and “a lot of movement in the regulatory and reimbursement areas for certain categories.” Along with their comfort and capacity for personalization, the devices have a number of clear uses in the clinical setting, including continuous data collection, disease detection and diagnosis, and medication adherence (which they wrote will be of the “highest interest” to pharmaceutical companies and payers).

Examples of these connected patches include iRhythm’s Zio patch, a wearable, wireless patch that users mail back after use, or VitalConnect’s VitalPatch, successor to the HealthPatch MD. Also in the running would be Proteus’ sensor pill and transmitting patch system, which just this week received FDA approval for its first bundled pharmaceutical, Abilify. Last year L’Oreal debuted a wearable patch that changes color when exposed to UV rays in an effort to protect user’s skin. New options are likely to hit the market as well, as just this September Qualcomm Life and Benchmark announced a partnership to develop their own disposable biometric patches for inpatient and outpatient monitoring.

“The market for connected wearable patches is still in the initial stages of development and commercial availability, but holds great promise, with the potential to improve the health of patients and contribute to lower healthcare costs,” Sherril Hanson, a research analyst at Tractica, said in a statement.

Tractica released a similarly forward-looking report back in 2015. Based off of the 67,000 annual shipments identified in 2014, it predicted 12.3 million connected wearable patches shipped by 2020 for a market revenue of $3.3 billion. ABI Research also examined the market in a 2013 report, which at the time predicted 5 million disposable medical sensor shipments by 2018.