OYSTER BAY, NY -- Smart clothing will soon extend beyond fitness to target a wide range of personal, health and enterprise uses, topping 18 million clothing articles annually by 2021. 

The emerging market will disrupt traditional fashion trends as it grows a forecasted 48% compounded annually over the next five years, ABI Research say.

“Smart clothing today targets mostly sports professionals,” says Ryan Harbison, Research Analyst at ABI Research. “However, the forward-looking brands are pursuing worker and public servant safety, interactive gaming, children’s health monitoring, and the elder care markets. New market segments not only expand the addressable market but also serve to prove that the technology can perform in a broader and more austere set of environmental conditions and applications.”

Innovative players driving adoption include Athos, Heddoko, Hexoskin, Mimo, Mondevices, OMsignal, Owlet, Sensoria and Textronics. And recently joining these brands are giants such as Ralph Lauren, Google and Levi’s. Given the market’s growing popularity, ABI Research expects it will only be a matter of time before some of the larger tech players enter this space, too.

“The biggest challenge for this segment is ruggedizing the technology that makes the clothing smart,” said Harbison. “But as is the case in all IoT markets, partnerships will be even more critical to create durable, practical, and fashionable products that consumers want and are willing to pay a premium price. Partnerships will need to include wearables OEMs who will compete with, but also can complement, smart clothing.”

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