The fitness, health and wellness tech market is looking stronger every day, and that trend should continue through 2022, if CES earlier this year was any indication. Despite the muted nature of the show, products ranging from air filters to fitness and health tracking watches and rings continued to draw attention.
With the world still in the clutches of the pandemic, the worldwide market for home fitness equipment is expected to continue its expansion. The sports equipment market in the U.S. alone is estimated to grow from $14.5 billion in 2020 to $16.8 billion by 2025, according to analysis by Statista. Meanwhile, product trends are starting to shift away from online exercise classes, according to an annual survey from the ACSM Health & Fitness Journal. The top trend this year, according to the report, will be wearable technology, followed by home gym equipment and then outdoor exercise gear (see our coverage of e-mobility at CES).
That all bodes well for consumer electronics and appliance retailers looking to ride the health and wellness wave. And even though some of the bigger brands like Peloton (which also failed to introduce a much-rumored rowing machine) bowed out of the CES earlier this year, there was still plenty of products for the gawkers who did make it to the show, in person or otherwise.
Focus on Fitness
While the Peloton rowing machine failed to debut at CES earlier this year, the Hydrow rowing machine made waves with a quiet but challenging rower for indoor workouts. The company says it will be supported by more than 3,000 live and on-demand workouts, with a monthly $38 subscription. Owners can also virtually sluice across the likes of Switzerland’s Lake Lucerne. The $2,295 rowing machine is about seven feet long and about four feet high, including the monitor, but it’s an excellent low-impact exercise option for people looking for a more full-body workout.
Fitness watches continue to be a major presence in the health and wellness sector as well, and Garmin has launched a new mid-priced line, the $450 Venu 2 Plus. It’s more stylish than previous models and allows wearers to make phone calls and ask Siri and Google Assistant for help using the watch. At a lower price point, Garmin’s $180 Vívomove Sport Hybrid looks like a traditional analog watch with hands, yet it still offers features like a blood oxygen saturation monitor. The Vívomove is also platform agnostic: It works with Android phones or Apple iPhones.
In addition to established brands, there continue to be newcomers like the $599 NoWatch. While the bracelet monitors your temperature, blood oxygen levels, and pulse, it does not have a screen. The company argues that would be distracting and detract from mindfulness. So there’s an associated app to check your data.
Also in this category, there continue to be products like the Oura Ring that are trying to appeal to a generation that has no intention of wearing a watch. The Movano Ring, for example, is a fitness tracker ring that’s considerably slimmer and more comfortable than the competition. It also has the unique ability to monitor blood pressure levels, a serious health issue in the U.S. Movano plans to be FDA-approved at launch. No pricing has yet been announced, and the company hopes to have beta units available by the second quarter of this year.
In the Bathroom
While trackers can tell you how your training is going, only the Withings Body Scan will assess your “segmental body composition” (if that’s something you’d like to know). The $300 Body Scan looks like a high-tech scale: it has a glass platform with electrodes and sensors that you stand on and a handle with electrodes that you lift up. The result: a readout of your stats like fat/water analysis and sweat gland function on a small LCD screen. Withings expects the Body Scan to be available in the second half of this year.
On the more traditional side, electric toothbrushes are getting more sophisticated every year. Witness three new Oral-B IO Smart Toothbrushes that were introduced at CES in January. The budget-minded IO 4 and 5 will cost less than $100, while the Series 10 boasts a charging base with a display to show how long you brushed and at what power level. With more than double the brushing modes of the IO 4 and 5, expect the Series 10 to cost over $250.
While more people are cooking and eating in, home kitchen appliances are also getting a healthy spin this year. One example: Bob the Mini Dishwasher. A little larger than a breadbox, Bob is a Wi-Fi-connected countertop dishwasher with its own one-gallon water tank (so it doesn’t have to be connected to a faucet). For the COVID-conscious buyer, Bob also has a dry cycle that uses ultraviolet light to kill bacteria and viruses. When it launches, Bob will be $400.
Big brands are also tuned into the cook-at-home trend, including Panasonic, which last month introduced the HomeChef 7-in-1 Compact Oven, which is a microwave that can also steam food or do convection baking — or sanitize. The HomeChef can also air fry, ferment, and stew. The polymath oven will come with 18 pre-programmed meal settings to make things easier and will be available this spring for $500.
Last month, CES featured plenty of air filters on display to combat indoor pollution and viruses, with an increased focus on monitoring air quality. The $199 Airthings View Pollution device can alert homeowners to the presence of serious city particulates to smoke from wildfires (welcome to 2022) — all aimed at preventing respiratory problems. For another hundred dollars, the Airthings View Plus adds radon detection and airborne-virus monitoring.
CES also featured many more health and wellness devices that ranged from the sublime to the silly. Intel-backed Metalenz, for example, announced new miniaturized polarization lenses for smartphones that could potentially make it easier for healthcare professionals to detect conditions like skin cancer. And lighting company Sengled introduced a mesh network-connected Smart Health Monitoring Lightbulb that uses radar to track the biometrics of people in a room — a possible boon to those worried about monitoring aging parents.
Lastly, there is no shortage of wacky wellness tech. The consensus at CES 2022 was that the wildest product shown in Las Vegas was the Amagami Ham Ham Finger-Nibbling Robot Toy. The stuffed cuddly toy has two dozen different nibbling patterns to make it seem more life-like (we assume). Pricing wasn’t announced, and many reporters thought Ham Ham was too gimmicky. On the other hand, some of them thought that Furbies were silly, too.