London — Worldwide revenue for wearable electronics batteries is forecast to reach $77 million by 2018, up from a projected $6 million in 2014, driven by new products targeting active sports and fitness lifestyles, according to a new report from IHS Technology. Annual shipments for wearable electronic devices will reach about 56 million units by 2018, fueling demand for the batteries.
This year marks the first significant volume for the market from a virtually non-existent base last year, according to IHS. “Wearable electronics will be the key to sustaining the current very-high-growth levels of battery revenue in consumer electronics,” said Thomas McAlpine, power supply and storage component analyst for IHS, in a statement.
“The tremendous expansion in store will come thanks to an increase in the shipments of smartwatch products, wearable health monitoring devices and smart glasses—products geared toward an active lifestyle combining advanced technological trends in miniature computing with newly smart consumer imperatives in fitness and fashion," he added.
Of the total number of batteries expected to be installed in wearable electronics by 2018, lithium polymer batteries will hold the lion's share, accounting for 73 percent of total wearable electronics battery revenue, according to the report. The study “Batteries in Portable Consumer Electronics – World 2014," also finds that lithium polymer batteries are the preferred power source due to their light weight and the capability to manufacture them in a wide range of shapes and sizes, compared to traditional lithium-ion batteries.
Smartphone and tablet PC demand will continue to drive the majority of revenue growth in the lithium battery market for portable electronics over the next couple of years, according to IHS. Combined shipments of these devices is forecast to grow 46 percent from 2013 to 2015. However, when shipments begin to fall from 2015 onward, coupled with projected erosion in the average selling prices of lithium battery cells, growth also will drop for the overall lithium battery market for portable consumer electronics.
"This means that the emergence of new applications in the market is critical," stated McAlpine. “Lithium batteries will remain an integral component for innovation in consumer electronics. But to achieve sustained market growth, new wearable electronics and other devices need to be introduced and adopted by the mass market, similar to what is occurring now in recently emerging product categories.”