Connected health device connections to double in five years
DALLAS — Mobile carriers will help bridge the divide between care providers and consumers, particularly in regards to health data collection and transfer, as well as communications between providers and patients, according to a recent Parks Associates report, given their established relationships with consumers, expertise in providing consumer-facing services, and connection to consumers’ mobile devices.
“Digital health is an important part of the Internet of Everything, and wireless carriers need to align their connected health businesses with their larger connected living strategies,” stated Jennifer Kent, director, research quality and innovation at Parks Associates. “Mobile carriers have multiple opportunities to provide value for business customers and consumers, though the landscape differs significantly by region," she said. “However, carriers can play a valuable role in the consumer space."
The research firm reported that connected health devices accounted for approximately 4% of all M2M (machine-to-machine) connections in the United States in 2014. Parks Associates estimates that portion will double over the next five years as the healthcare vertical catches up to other, more mature M2M verticals, such as automotive and industrial telematics.
More than 40 million smartphone owners are active users of at least one wellness or fitness app, Parks Associates reported. About 1-in-4 heads of household in broadband households use a mobile app to track their fitness progress or calorie intake, and the research firm expects usage and adoption to increase with the release of new mobile form factors such as the Apple Watch.
Survey: Consumers less price sensitive to health-and-wellness items
NEW YORK — Greater consumer interest in the pursuit of health-and-wellness lifestyles may be contributing to a lessened sensitivy in price across the category, according to the AlixPartners North American Health & Wellness Review survey released Monday. While price remains the most important purchasing criterion, above health and wellness and other attributes, for all food and beverage products, only 76% of consumers in the recent survey said price was “somewhat” or “extremely” important, versus 88% who said the same in the 2013 survey.
Specific to health and wellness-focused food and beverage products, AlixPartners found in its latest survey that consumers appear to be willing to pay a price premium for health and wellness product attributes they view as important. Consumers surveyed reported their willingness to pay a premium for products with such attributes has increased to an 8.9% price premium, versus a 6.2% premium as reported in the 2013 survey.
“This rapid change in consumer price sensitivity may create significant margin-expansion opportunities for retailers, such as in pricing, and producers, such as in formulations,” commented Brian Major, managing director at AlixPartners and co-leader of the firm’s Consumer Products Practice.
Overall, the North American food and beverage industry at large stands to benefit in 2015 from improving macroeconomic conditions and other factors, including modest growth in U.S. median household income, as well as lower gas prices. Most notable, however, is the health and wellness sub-sector’s contribution to growth, which has been three to four times greater than other grocery items in the past decade (based on sales of natural and organic products), and is expected to see substantial near-term growth as economic conditions improve. According to the survey, consumers’ primary health and wellness goal is to have a better quality of life (46% of respondents chose that) over longevity, appearance and other considerations. To achieve that, 59% of consumers surveyed cited “eating healthy” and 54% cited “exercising” as the two most important aspects of their health and wellness regimen.
“While the health & wellness trend has been strong for more than a decade, we believe consumers’ interest in this space is still in the early stages due in part to very favorable demographics,” stated David Garfield, managing director at AlixPartners and co-leader of the firm’s Consumer Products Practice. “At the same time, however, manufacturers, suppliers and retailers are leaving money on the table in health and wellness, due to less-than-optimal actions in areas including pricing, innovation and supply chain.”
In addition to a significant shift in overall willingness to pay a premium for products with desirable health and wellness attributes, there has also been a noticeable shift in which of those attributes are most important to consumers. For example, the attributes “all-natural” and “organic” increased in importance to respondents as compared to the 2013 survey; 21% of consumers cited “all-natural” in the most recent survey as most important (up from 10% who said that in the previous year's survey) and 15% cited “organic” as most important (up from 5% in the year-ago survey). Additionally, consumers' self-reported willingness to pay more increased by the following amounts for these attributes: “organic” (an 11% premium, up from 9.3% in the 2013 survey) and “all-natural” (a 9.9% premium, up from 5.7%).
The AlixPartners study reveals that both baby boomers’ and millennials’ preferences within the health and wellness food and beverage space will have a significant impact, as both demographic groups show high levels of interest in health and wellness. While companies are keen on reaching millennials, baby boomers also present a valuable health and wellness opportunity, according to the study. For instance, the study finds that baby boomers spend a larger percentage of their food and beverage budget on health and wellness items, with 45% of those ages 65 and over reportedly spending at least 20% on health and wellness items and 19% spending more than 40% on such items.
According to the AlixPartners survey, when shopping for health and wellness food and beverage products, consumers favor mass merchandisers (cited by 42% of consumers) over traditional grocery stores (cited by 34% of consumers). This survey also finds that consumers are shopping for food and beverage products across a wide range of retail channels, including drug stores, dollar stores, Internet retailers and convenience stores, as well as traditional grocery stores and mass merchandisers. The survey additionally showed that only 21% of consumers are loyal to one grocery retailer for their health and wellness groceries, while 25% of consumers shop at one retailer for health and wellness and at another for traditional grocery items at least 61% of the time.
“Retailers are facing higher customer expectations, greater supply-chain complexity and increasing competition for the consumer’s health and wellness dollar,” said Richard Vitaro, director at AlixPartners and a member of the firm’s Retail & Consumer Products Practice. “Retailers need to differentiate their health & wellness offering on at least one key dimension, such as product quality, assortment, price or convenience, while being competitive on remaining attributes to be able to separate themselves from the competition while providing a competitive value proposition to competitors.”
The AlixPartners North American Health & Wellness Review surveyed more than 1,100 consumers and examined a number of areas including: the key drivers of consumers’ choice for food and beverage purchases (keeping health and wellness in mind); reactions to current health trends; views on healthy snacking; and satisfaction with retailers and manufacturers when it comes to health and wellness offerings.
Bayer launches online tool to measure cardiovascular risk factors
WHIPPANY, N.J. — In an effort to help consumers understand their risk for life-threatening cardiovascular events, Bayer HealthCare, the makers of Bayer Aspirin, on Monday announced the launch of the ProHeart Path Tool. The ProHeart Path Tool, available on IamProHeart.com, calculates the 5–year risk of a cardiovascular event (heart attack or stroke) based on a risk assessment. The ProHeart Path Tool also provides an individualized summary and action plan with recommended lifestyle changes and tips for lowering the risk of cardiovascular events.
“As a cardiologist, I see many patients come into my office without an understanding of their risk factors for a cardiovascular event. Being proactive about your health, speaking with your physician and understanding your risks are so important,” stated Tracy Stevens, member of the WomenHeart Scientific Advisory Council, WomenHeart’s advisory group of the nation’s leading experts on women’s heart health, and Medical Director of the Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute’s Muriel I. Kauffman Women’s Heart Center. “By using Bayer HealthCare’s ProHeart Path Tool and receiving a personalized action plan, you’ll be equipped for an essential discussion with your physician about how you can best care for your heart.”
Changing specific lifestyle habits, including diet, exercise and smoking can have a large impact on risk factors for cardiovascular events. In fact, smokers are 2-to-4 times more likely to have heart disease. Additionally, an inactive lifestyle is a risk factor for coronary heart disease. Being proactive about your heart health and altering behavior will have life–long positive results.
“Bayer HealthCare has long been dedicated to providing heart health education,” said Fred Duchin, VP marketing analgesics, cough and cold, cardiovascular at Bayer Consumer Care. “And today we are proud to launch the ProHeart Path Tool as we believe it’s a resource that may motivate change in individuals at risk for heart attack or stroke. We hope it provides great value and truly life–saving information.”
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