The shipment volume of the global human enhancement market (henceforth, referred to as the market studied) stood at 216.16 million units in 2020, and it is projected to reach 648.40 million units by 2026, registering a CAGR of 19.48% over the forecast period (2021 - 2026). Advances in materials, information systems, and human science are setting the stage to significantly enhance human capabilities, pushing the physiological, cognitive, and social human performance frontiers. Research and development in these areas are enabling the development of devices and solutions that can actively enhance human capabilities.
- In August 2019, a team at the University of Utah developed the technology for a next-generation prosthetic arm that can "feel" and make movements according to the thoughts of the person wearing it. The arm, named "LUKE," enables its users to get a sense of touch, allowing them to pick up even delicate objects like eggs with a confidence rarely found in other modern prosthetics.
- The defense sector drives a prominent share of the research and development investment due to the sheer number of applications, and subsidized offerings for prosthetics and exoskeletons are fueling the growth. Technological innovation enhancing the capabilities of prosthetics and allowing natural movement further increases the demand.
- The decreasing cost of these solutions is another factor which is augmenting the demand. For instance, in July 2020, Unlimited Tomorrow launched TrueLimb, and the company claims its prosthetic arm costs 80% less than that of traditional prosthetics. The prosthetic arm is a functional and durable robotic upper-limb prosthesis with a multi-grip capability and individual finger control, allowing for natural movement and positioning.
- Apart from prosthetics, human enhancements that enable humans to work and operate at higher than the optimal levels of normal humans is expected to gain traction over the coming years in industrial situations and the defense sector; various technological innovations are underway. For instance, in August 2020, Ekso Bionics unveiled EVO, an endurance-boosting assistive upper-body exoskeleton that alleviates repetitive work burden.
- With the recent outbreak of COVID-19, the demand for human enhancement products has experienced significant disruptions pertaining to supply chain issues in markets, such as smartwatches, hearables, fitness trackers, and other electronics. The market is expected to slump until the end of 2020 due to decreased consumer spending capabilities and pick up by Q1 2021.
Key Market Trends
Smartwatch to Drive the Market Growth
- A smartwatch is a wearable computing device that mostly resembles a wristwatch and has a touchscreen display that allows users to perform actions by tapping or swiping on the screen. Modern smartwatches have several applications similar to that of smartphones and tablets. These apps offer additional functionality, such as displaying weather information, counting calories burnt through exercises, and displaying maps and directions. Currently, smartwatches can also be used to make phone calls and send and receive text messages.
- The smartwatch's internal hardware varies depending on the configuration of the device; it has an electronic visual display of either backlit LCD or OLED. Some of the devices use transflective liquid crystal display or electronic paper to consume less power. They are usually powered by a lithium-ion battery (rechargeable). However, some of the technology companies are trying to utilize body heat as a source of power.
- For instance, MATRIX PowerWatch X is equipped with a thermoelectric engine, which is powered by its wearer's body heat, which maximizes activity and provides more flexibility to the smartwatch. It is the first smartwatch powered via body heat, and when not worn, it goes into deep sleep mode to conserve battery.
- Some of the market vendors are partnering with healthcare institutes to research various sensors that can be embedded within the device, to detect various health-related diseases or problems and provide a competitive advantage to their brand of smartwatches. For instance, in March 2020, Fitbit collaborated with The Scripps Research Institute and Stanford Medicine on research aimed at using Fitbit data to help detect, track, and contain infectious diseases like COVID-19.
Asia-Pacific to Witness Highest Growth
- Asia-Pacific (APAC) is projected to witness the most rapid human enhancement market growth, due to the burgeoning sales of connected wearable devices, a result of a reduction in their prices and a rise in the number of people with Internet access. Key companies in the human enhancement market have unveiled a slew of products in recent years to augment their revenue.
- China has made a significant contribution toward process control and product manufacturing, as it houses some prominent vendors of the market. The government's support for making China an innovation leader, as compared to a low-cost manufacturing hub, is also driving the market, as many Chines companies are investing tremendously in R&D. For instance, in November 2019, Oppo, the Chinese smartphone manufacturer, announced its plans to invest USD 7 billion in R&D in the next three years.
- A recent report by a government think tank in China stated that approximately 80% of the smart wearable devices in the world are manufactured in the south eastern Chinese port city and manufacturing hub. According to the report published by the China Center for Information Industry Development, Shenzhen, the base camp of many Chinese tech giants, is the biggest R&D (research and development) and production center for human enhancements, such as smart wearables.
- The advent of smart devices is the key to the vision of a Digital India. The Indian government plans to transform the country and create opportunities for all citizens by utilizing digital technologies to empower every native with access to knowledge, digital services, and information. This factor is expected to drive the human enhancement market.
- From a consumer electronics industry point of view, an increase in demand for consumer electronics has led manufacturers to start focusing more on local production to increase their margins. For instance, in July 2020, Samsung, a South Korean company, which has its largest smartphone manufacturing facility in Noida, announced its plan to manufacture smartwatches locally. The aluminium edition of Galaxy Watch Active2 4G is the most affordable 4G watch, and it may be the first smartwatch to be made in India.
The human enhancement market is competitive and consists of several players. Many companies are increasing their market presence by introducing new products or by securing new contracts or by entering into strategic mergers and acquisitions. Some of the recent developments in the market are:
- May 2020 - Samsung Electronics introduced ECG monitoring for Galaxy Watch Active 2. The function has been cleared with the South Korea Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. The feature uses advanced sensor technology on the Galaxy Watch Active2 and will enable users to measure and analyse their heart rhythm for irregularities indicating Atrial Fibrillation.
- April 2020 - ReWalk Robotics announced the acceptance of the binding offer by DGUV (Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung / The German Social Accident Insurance) to provide qualified spinal cord injury (SCI) patients with the ReWalk 6.0 robotic exoskeleton device. This binding offer applies for the provision of ReWalk Exoskeletons for all insured persons of the 36 different DGUV members/insurances. In 2018, nearly 83 million Germans were insured against work-related, commuting and school accidents and against occupational diseases under DGUV.
Reasons to Purchase this report:
- The market estimate (ME) sheet in Excel format
- 3 months of analyst support