The global market for rugged devices showed impressive growth in 2022 despite the uncertain geopolitical landscape and the looming threat of a recession. According to the report from Technavio the market grew by a respectable 6,14%.
One of the key drivers behind the growth is the increasing demand for data management systems. Companies are turning to rugged devices to help with data collection to optimize their business and reduce costs. Industrial automation is another driver behind the need for rugged devices and they play a crucial role in supply chain management.
Looking ahead, increased digitalization is going to keep driving demand and the market for rugged devices is expected to grow by 345 million dollars from 2021 to 2026. That is a CAGR of 5,5% with about 32% of that growth coming from the North American market.
Breaking down the rugged device market
While 5,5% is a decent number it does show that momentum is slowing down for rugged devices as a whole. If you break it down, the slowdown is mainly caused by rugged laptops and notebooks. However, other areas are instead looking at an accelerating growth rate.
Android-powered devices increase in popularity
One of the big trends is a quickly increasing preference for Android devices. It provides a clue as to what type of rugged devices is expected to see accelerating market growth. Rugged handheld devices showed weaker growth than the market as a whole, at 4,48% in 2022, but the CAGR is expected to accelerate to 6,72% from 2021 to 2026.
Rugged tablets instead performed better than the rest of the rugged device market, growing 7,03% in 2022. Their future is looking even brighter with a forecasted market CAGR of 7,29%. The preference for Android is showing, as compact rugged handheld computers and tablets often rely on Google’s operating system.
Scanners and wearables show impressive growth
Industrial barcode scanners saw an estimated growth of 8,77% in 2022 and driven by the evolution of industry 4.0 it’s expected to accelerate to a CAGR of 9,19% (2021-2026). The fastest-growing sub-segment is wearable scanners that offer similar functionality, increase efficiency and reduce human errors.
Speaking of wearables, the market for IoT-enabled industrial wearables is forecasted to grow by a massive 35,77% during 2023. While it’s forecasted to slow down, the predicted CAGR is still very impressive at 23,58% (2022-2027). If we look at sub-segments the big winner seems to be hand-worn wearables like smart rings and wrist-worn devices.