Will Smart Rings Reign Over Wearable Tech?

Smart rings, a new intelligent wearable device, encompasses features such as health monitoring, exercise tracking, message reminders, and NFC, etc. It is similar to smart bracelets and smartwatches in functionality, but the unique advantage of the smart ring lies in its compact ring-shaped design. Compared to wrist-mounted devices, it can provide more accurate health data monitoring, making it more suitable for all-day wear and allowing for continuous 24-hour uninterrupted data recording.

Currently, major mobile phone manufacturers are all making strategic layout in the smart ring field, which inevitably leads us to ponder: Will the smart ring become the next potentially blue ocean market in the wearable field?

With cutting-edge technologies such as 5G and artificial intelligence, driven by global applications and experiential consumption, the intelligent wearable device industry has rapidly developed. In addition to common smartwatches and smart bracelets, many innovative and tech-savvy new categories, such as smart glasses and smart rings, have emerged in the market. Through rapid iteration and innovative practice, these new smart devices have become the fastest-growing high-tech fields globally.

Among them, the smart ring, with its compact portability and comfortable wear, quickly became the “new favorite” for overseas consumers to monitor sleep quality last year. According to a report by the Southern Daily, as of January last year, the sales of smart rings on a certain e-commerce platform achieved a huge breakthrough, with a year-on-year growth of 150%.

Smart rings grew explosively last year. Leading mobile phone brands had successively laid out and entered this field, and the global smart ring market is expanding steadily. Market research data by Bezhig Information Consultation [1] indicates that in 2022, the global smart ring market size has already reached RMB137 million, and it is expected to further grow to RMB947 million by 2028. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2022 to 2028 is projected to be 37.69%, showing a strong growth momentum.

At present, the North American market holds a leading position in the global smart ring market share, occupying more than 40%; next are the European and Chinese markets, with a combined market share of over 45%, collectively forming the important pillars of the smart ring market.

Like other wearable tech, a smart ring serves multiple functions.

Why Smart Rings?

Currently, wearable devices mainly use the principle of Photoplethysmography (PPG) for heart rate and blood oxygen monitoring. Compared to smart bracelets or smartwatches, smart rings are more accurate in monitoring health data such as heart rate and blood oxygen. Specific reasons include:

  1. Physiological Structure and Monitoring Location: Smart rings cleverly use the rich subcutaneous blood vessel network at the fingertips and the higher skin light transmittance. Fingers are closer to the artery and have more stable measurement points than the top of the wrist, which are less prone to interference from external factors such as sweat, enabling more precise pulse signals to be captured. Also, the small and compact design characteristics of the smart ring allow it to adhere more closely to the skin, reducing light incidence and reflection errors caused by potential “gaps” when worn, improving the effectiveness and accuracy of health metrics extracted from PPG signals.

  2. Wearing Experience and Continuous Monitoring Capacity: Due to the lightweight ring form factor, smart rings greatly reduce the impact on daily hand activities, making them more suitable for all-weather wear by users. This high-adaptability design allows smart rings to perform 24-hour uninterrupted data tracking, ensures the continuity and completeness of health information monitoring, and provides more refined, real-time health management services for users.

A smart ring provides comfortable wearing experience as an accessory too!

Choosing smart rings is not just due to their precision in health monitoring, but also because of the unique advantages and diversified value which result from its innovative design. Smart rings ingeniously combine the dual function properties of practical monitoring devices and accessories, opening up a wide space for design innovation with its high inclusivity. When product positioning and functional characteristics match precisely, consumers are often willing to pay a premium for the unique experience they offer.

For example, the smart wedding rings that were once popular in overseas markets, connecting lovers’ heartbeats with the concept of “veins of love,” greatly expanded the emotional connotations and symbolic significance of smart rings, making them transcend the category of utilitarian products and possess higher emotional value and memorable meaning. In addition, through cross-border cooperation and co-branding marketing strategies, companies can further unleash their potential creative power by exploiting the celebrity effect and co-branding, in order to achieve sales breakthroughs.

Smart Ring & Its Future

1. Mobile Phone Manufacturers Jumping In + Health Function Integration

The development history of smartwatches shows that the active participation of mobile phone manufacturers significantly promoted their rapid iteration of features and market promotion. Now, the same momentum is also showing in the smart ring market.

Consistent with the development path of smartwatches, future smart rings will also focus on health monitoring functions, and with the participation of mobile phone manufacturers, it expects to usher in a period of rapid growth. ABI Research data shows [2] that the global smart ring shipments reached 17.2 million units in 2022, and it is expected that by 2028, this number will jump to over 50 million units, with a CAGR of 21.9% from 2023 to 2028, showing tremendous development potential.

Smart rings show growing popularity worldwide.

2. Smart Connectivity and Interaction Improvements

The downstream applications of the smart ring industry chain mainly focus on two core areas: health data monitoring and interacting with virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) head display devices to achieve gesture recognition. Looking to the future, smart rings will significantly enhance the interactive experience with innovative technologies such as haptic feedback, gesture control, and flexible screens.

For example, smart rings allow users to make menu selections, grab objects, or draw 3D graphics in VR/AR applications by just waving their fingers, all without the need for additional handheld controllers, providing an immersive contactless interaction experience. In addition, it will seamlessly dock with various smart device ecosystems such as mobile phones and smart homes, forming a comprehensive intelligent interactive network, providing users with a more convenient and efficient living and working environment.

One development direction is for smart rings to lean towards VR and AR.

3. Personalized Design and Battery Life

Smart rings will deeply integrate luxury brands and fashion elements, paying attention to the selection of appearance design and materials to meet the growing demand for individualization and fashion among consumers. At the same time, in order to improve the user experience, the industry will continue to develop higher energy efficiency ratio chip technology, aiming to extend the battery life of smart rings, effectively reducing the inconvenience brought by frequent charging, to ensure that users can enjoy the convenience and services provided by smart rings for a longer time.

Smart rings, with their dual attributes of jewelry and smart technology, are exploring diverse developmental paths. Whether it is based on aesthetic design as the fundamental value, or leading with the unique advantage of smart monitoring and sustainable use, its core competitiveness lies in meeting consumers’ rigid demands for precise health management.

Compared to mere decorative function or brand effect, the health monitoring function borne by the smart rings grants the product a deeper commercial value. As mainstream mobile phone manufacturers are rushing to launch new smart rings and actively laying out patent technologies, the smart ring industry is experiencing a period of rapid development, and it is expected to kick off a mass production year in 2024!

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