Electronic skin patches: are they the most promising wearable technology in the market?

An image to illustrate electronic skin patches
This flexible wearable sensor can be worn on the arm to detect alcohol level. Credit: UC San Diego

James Hayward, Principal Analyst at IDTechEx, has written about the market potential for electronic skin patches.

Hayward says: “Skin patches are arguably the most interesting, diverse and promising category within the entire wearable technology market. The nature of the products, adding the value from new electronic functionality directly onto the skin of the user, presents a series of challenges and opportunities to players in the space. With extensive research conducted by leading industry experts over more than a decade around areas such as flexible electronics and wearable technology, the report provides all of the key information required to gain an understanding of the technology, markets and competitive landscape around this dynamic product type.”

What are electronic skin patches?

Hayward explains: “Whilst many people may imagine skin patches to be thin, highly conformable devices that sit close to the skin, the reality is that many of the most successful products today are still relatively bulky devices. As such, the report also contains a discussion of technology areas relevant to the future development of smart patches, particularly around areas such as flexible, stretchable and conformal electronic components. Development of these technologies will not only enable more products to be deployed as skin patches but will also for improvement in the form factor of electronic skin patches that already exist.”

The leading market areas

“In 2019, the two leading market sectors by far are in the area of diabetes management and in cardiovascular monitoring. Each of these spaces has grown over the last decade to generate billions of dollars in revenue per year for the companies involved. However, in each of these spaces, success is not guaranteed; leading players in each space have deployed occasionally contrasting commercial strategies in order to maintain and increase their overall revenue and market share,” adds Hayward.

The new report

According to IDTechEx, the new report by James Hayward and Dr Nadia Tsao, Senior Technology Analyst at IDTechEx, titled “Electronic Skin Patches 2019-2029”, is the most comprehensive study of the emerging product area for electronic skin patches. Hayward says: “It reveals significant opportunity, with over $7.5bn in revenue made from electronic skin patches in 2018, and a forecast for this to grow to over $20bn per year by 2029.”

Source: IDTechEx Research “Electronic Skin Patches 2019-2029”

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