Consumers are becoming more and more enthusiastic about wearable technology, meaning the industry may be poised for growth.
The wearable technology market has experienced significant growth in recent years. Consumer enthusiasm for wearable tech products has been building, which in turn has led to a rise in investor interest for wearable technology stocks.
Research firm Gartner predicts that global consumer spending on wearable devices will total nearly US$93.9 billion in 2022, up more than 35 percent from US$69 billion in 2020. The smartwatch and ear-worn (hearables) categories make up the majority of spending in the global wearable devices market.
The research firm attributes some the anticipated growth to “the rise in remote work and increased interest in health monitoring during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Similarly, Grand View Research expects the wearable technology industry to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 15.9 percent between 2020 and 2027, reaching US$104.39 billion.
With those numbers in mind, it’s worthwhile for investors to be aware of the major wearable technology stocks on offer. Here the Investing News Network looks at the five best-performing wearable technology stocks on the NASDAQ and NYSE over the past year. Data was generated on February 1, 2021, using TradingView’s stock screener, and numbers were accurate at that time.
1. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)
Year-on-year gain: 74.9 percent; market cap: US$2,259.846 billion; current share price: US$134.68
Although it’s perhaps best known as the maker of the iPhone, Apple is also a wearable tech player. The Apple Watch Series 1 launched in 2015, and quickly became the world’s best-selling wearable that year, hitting 4.2 million sold in the second quarter. Since then, the tech monster has become the biggest player in the wearable tech market. Its product portfolio includes the Apple Watch, AirPods and the AirPods Pro.
Despite being on top of the wearable tech market, this segment of the technology sector still represents an area of growth for Apple. According to Bloomberg, the big tech company is developing a virtual reality headset as a precursor to more advanced augmented reality (AR) glasses. These products reportedly may be brought to market in 2022 or 2023.
2. Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN)
Year-on-year gain: 65.7 percent; market cap: US$1,668.964 billion; current share price: US$3,326.28
Amazon waded into wearable tech in 2019 with a hearable device dubbed Echo Buds and a pair of high-tech specs known as Echo Frames. In 2020, the company came out with a wrist-worn wearable, the Halo fitness tracker, which along with an app can track physical activity, body fat and emotions.
3. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)
Year-on-year gain: 38.34 percent; market cap: US$1,819.41 billion; current share price: US$241.27
Microsoft tried breaking into the wearable device market in 2015 with the launch of the Microsoft Band, a smartwatch with an activity tracker. At the time, the product couldn’t compete with more entrenched competitors in the market.
Now the company might be bringing back the Band to address an unmet need: consumer products capable of measuring blood pressure. As with Amazon, there are rumors the tech giant may be looking to the medical device sector with a wrist wearable aimed at tracking and monitoring blood pressure.
In the AR realm, Microsoft’s HoloLens is targeting the industrial sector, unlike its competitors in the space, the Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) Oculus and HTC (TPE:2498) Vive, which are focused more on entertainment and gaming. In Seattle, a Microsoft research lab is researching wearable tech via partnerships with apparel and textile companies.
4. Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL)
Year-on-year gain: 28.37 percent; market cap: US$1,287.151 billion; current share price: US$1,902.65
Alphabet is the parent company of Google, and has a variety of products in the wearable technology market. Google’s Wear OS is a version of Google’s Android operating system designed for smartwatches and other wearables. The smartwatch platform is used by watchmakers such as Oppo and Fossil. In early 2021, Google finally made its long-awaited move on Fitbit, closing a US$2.1 billion merger.
Google was the first big tech company to take on consumer AR with its Glasses product, and there are expectations that its June 2020 acquisition of North, a Canadian smart glasses company, is a good sign it’s looking to go back to the drawing board for a better product.
5. Garmin (NASDAQ:GRMN)
Year-on-year gain: 18.91 percent; market cap: US$22.358 billion; current share price: US$116.91
Garmin is another big-name player in wearable technology stocks. The company offers global positioning system (GPS) navigation, as well as wireless devices and applications. Garmin’s products range from outdoor handhelds to wearable devices to golf devices to dog tracking and training devices.
In terms of its wearable devices, the company is targeting fitness and activity training. In fact, Garmin is considered the third biggest maker of smartwatches after Apple and Samsung. In mid-2020, Garmin acquired Firstbeat Analytics, which not only provides the analytics and metrics software for Garmin’s smartwatches, but for its competitors as well.
In early 2021, Garmin acquired GEOS Worldwide, a privately held industry-leading provider of emergency monitoring and incident response services. GEOS Worldwide operates the International Emergency Response Coordination Center.
This is an updated version of an article first published by the Investing News Network in 2015.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Pistilli, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.