Google launched its much anticipated Android Wearable 2.0 watch platform earlier this month, with improved fitness tracking a focal point. The move follows a similar push from Apple last fall when the smartwatch leader made health and fitness front and center for its latest wrist wearables.
This focus on health makes a great deal of sense for smartwatch marketers, as mobile health is an area of burgeoning consumer interest and immense market opportunities. According to data from GfK Consumer Life, about three in ten Americans (29%) today monitor their health and fitness using an online or mobile app or through a fitness band, clip or smartwatch. And nearly half (46%) of those who don’t are interested in future adoption. Health tracking and monitoring is by far the top activity, not only for fitness trackers but for smartwatches in general, and it’s the only feature that truly sets smartwatches apart from smartphones in the consumer’s mind – at least for now.
While the demand for mobile health solutions is gathering steam, consumer needs are also evolving. Our research reveals opportunity areas that point to the future direction of mobile health.
While consumers recognize the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, many struggle to follow through with action. The persistent, wide gap between health attitudes and behaviors signals the need for products that help consumers stay motivated and make behavioral change more attainable.
For many, digital health is seen as the clear solution for motivation. Indeed, motivating oneself to exercise and eat healthy is a top reason why Americans use digital health solutions today. It’s an even more compelling driver for future adoption.
While tracking progress itself can help motivate behaviors, opportunities go well beyond basic quantification. The sensational success of Pokémon Go as an accidental fitness facilitator last summer is a testament to the power of gamification. The likes of Apple and Fitbit are also betting on gamification in the form of competition with friends, families and other users to encourage engagement.
Data without insights has limited benefits. People who used to track their health and fitness but no longer do so tend to cite ‘not knowing what to do with the information collected’ as a reason for diminished interest. Ultimately, quantification should be the means, not the end result of health solutions.
As mobile health matures, we can expect consumer demand to move beyond self-quantifying for actionable insights and real-time, personalized coaching to accomplish real results. Already, over a quarter of Leading Edge Consumers (vs. 16% of all adults) have received customized, data-based advice about their physical or mental health online, via an app or wearable devices in the past month.
The accuracy of Fitbit was questioned last spring in a public way when the company faced a class-action lawsuit. The accusation perhaps didn’t come across as a shocker to many consumers. Almost four in ten Americans admit they are skeptical about the data accuracy of health trackers and other wearables, according to a recent GfK Consumer Life survey.
Data privacy is another area of heightened consumer concerns and a major barrier to the adoption of digital tracking solutions. The expectations for data accuracy and security will only rise as mobile health becomes more integrated with healthcare. While these concerns may present challenges to device makers and service providers, those well-positioned on these fronts can also score a true advantage.
Consumers’ health needs are complex and multi-faceted. The demand for weight management continues to soar as obesity rates reach new highs. The importance of mental health is ever more top of mind in a high-stress world. An aging population is driving the rise of chronic conditions that require constant management.
Current digital health solutions tend to be lifestyle focused and track fitness, diet, sleep and stress separately. The progression of the industry, technology and consumer demand should propel the emergence of integrated solutions that synthesize various types of data (both medical and lifestyle) from multiple sources for holistic health management. For instance, if your fitness band knows that you had a poor night’s sleep, it may suggest that a heavy dinner the night before was to blame and recommend lighter meals or taking a walk after dinner to remedy the situation.
In summary, mobile health is a space of exciting opportunities, but also one evolving with growing competition and raised expectations. To fully capitalize on this market, it’s important to stay ahead of the curve and on top of emerging needs. In particular, personalization, security and integration will become more of an industry mandate than they have in the past.
Veronica Chen is a Vice President at GfK Consumer Life. To share your thoughts, please email email@example.com or leave a comment below.
 GfK’s proprietary Leading Edge Consumers (LEC) segmentation identifies consumers most likely to be early adopters and influencers in a given category.
Meet with GfK at eyeforpharma Barcelona 2017, the largest commercial pharma meeting of 1000+ industry leaders.
As we get busier and more distracted every day, key priorities like health often fall to the wayside. But interestingly, health and fitness (defined as “making an effort to be in good physical and mental shape”) is a rising value globally; currently, it’s #12 on a list of 50 personal values tracked by GfK Consumer Life, up four ranks since 2011. And nearly half (48%) of Americans believe that their eating habits, diet and overall health are better than their parents were at their age, a 6-point jump from 2012.
After years of being back-burnered by the Great Recession, people finally feel ready to take a more active role in their own wellness. But the return of health brings new questions: what does health mean to today’s consumer?
Most (69%) Americans agree that a key aspect of good health is “having a positive, optimistic state of mind and outlook on life” – #4 on a list of 12 possible health descriptors. As new outlooks on health emerge, this is a critical one. No longer are people consumed just with the number on their scale or the size of their jeans – they need to feel good, not just look good. This outlook is more pronounced among those who are 60+, perhaps due to enhanced expectations for a longer, happier life.
Almost six in ten (58%) Americans believe that “being physically fit” is included in their definition of “good health” – but it’s a bit more complex than that. Other dimensions of physical fitness are actually ranked higher on this list, including the ability to do daily activities without obstacles (78%) and avoiding obesity (62%). This heightened awareness of the impacts of fitness are evident in the top physical concerns Americans share about aging – gaining weight (34%) and loss of mobility (34%) are among the top five items on this list.
With that in mind, it may come as no surprise that nearly two in three (65%) Americans exercise to keep fit weekly or more often; this habit is up six points since 2012. And one in three (32%) admit that physical movement helps them treat health conditions they have.
The marketplace for health and wellness solutions has expanded in recent years to include many more players. Tech companies are competing with pharmaceutical leaders, and startups are often able to deliver solutions faster and more efficiently than more established brands.
This is good news for the consumer. Not only are there more products and services to choose from, the ability to personalize one’s wellness regimen has accelerated tremendously. There’s a combination of solutions for everyone, whether it’s aging consumers who are focused on declining mobility and memory, younger individuals who care strongly about fitness, or the affluent audience drawn to more preventative health solutions.
With wellness finally back on the front burner for consumers around the world and new spaces for a variety of companies to play a role, discussion of what “health” is will continue to grow – opening doors to new ideas on how to live healthfully.
Rachel Bonsignore is a Senior Consultant for GfK Consumer Life. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Biopharma has no lack of touchpoints to optimize engagement with its most important stakeholders. Yet the industry is lagging behind in leveraging those crucial points of the customer journey to meet stakeholders where they are. Below are some suggestions for how biopharma can improve the customer experience and innovate successfully.
It’s time to question the effectiveness of pharmaceutical engagement with its stakeholders. The 15th Annual eyeforpharma Summit (March 14-16 in Barcelona) poses the questions*: “What’s stopping us from being patient-centric? Is it laziness? Or…is it simply too difficult to give up control?”
The same organization recently partnered with The Health Perspectives Group** to review the state of direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising in North America. They concluded that pharma companies are still overly reliant on TV advertising blitzes and have under invested in authentic patient-centered stories delivered via digital channels. This addiction to old-school push marketing has inflated DTC spending, yet has led to a decline in DTC ad awareness and patient pull-through. How can an industry with such strong scientific roots and talent get it so wrong?
Unclear guidance from regulatory agencies has led to genuine industry-wide caution when activating digital channels. However, this doesn’t explain a drop in digital pharma advertising spending (excluding search) in the US from 2015 to 2016. Digital shyness can’t be the result of resource constraints because TV, radio, magazine and radio ad spending all increased during this same period.
What’s more, new drug applications (NDAs) are back to record highs, so the industry has a great innovation story to tell. And the mobile app surge continues even though most branded and unbranded health apps have few users. Meanwhile, companies are struggling to reorient and redeploy sales forces to take advantage of the new digital realities. We are in a post-iPad world, where the rep and account manager can be curators of targeted and relevant digital content. Yet biopharma still uses outmoded recall and share-of-voice metrics when gauging detail effectiveness.
To paraphrase the futurist William Gibson: The future is already here, it’s just not widely distributed. Plenty of pioneering examples within and outside the biopharma industry heed some basic principles:
There are plenty of success stories such as AbbVie’s patient access programs, Novartis’ real-world psoriasis patient stories (fueled by the largest-ever global survey of PsO patients in over 30 countries) and Otsuka’s fusion of traditional and digital therapies. These are just a few of the pioneers that will gather at eyeforpharma in Barcelona in March to share the best and brightest ideas for engagement with patients and customers.
Join the dialogue as we exchange ideas for advancing the art and science of customer engagement. I will be hosting the Digital Transformation and Customer Engagement tracks on Day 2 of the conference, Wednesday, March 15.
If biopharma makes these five smart moves, they will have the tools to innovate through richer relationships with a breadth of stakeholders, by embracing the new digital reality and by continuing the transformative dialogue on customer engagement.
The conversation continues outside of the conference. We invite you to join us for a meeting onsite anytime during the eyeforpharma program, or be our guest for a special dinner where you can meet other industry peers.
Join us Wednesday, March 15 at OneOcean Club, overlooking the beautiful Barcelona marina
Schedule a meeting and join us for dinner at OneOcean
Not going to Barcelona? Just click here to pre-register for GfK’s post-conference briefing sharing the best and brightest ideas from Barcelona.
*Chairman comments in program for 15th Annual eyeforpharma Barcelona Summit
**The Great DTC Shake-up: Patient perspectives on direct-to-consumer advertising
Find out more in our 10 min webisode how to be closer to your customers in the innovation process thanks to voice.
Find out more in our 10 min webisode how to improve your innovation process and minimize the risk of product failure.
Find out more in our 10 min webisode how to connect emotionally with your customer when you develop new product concept.
Find out in our white paper how to reveal the emotions of your customers by listening to their voice.
Did you know that, each month, we publish country-by-country findings on a new topic from our international study? As 2016 comes to a close, let’s take a look back at the survey results and the sentiments from consumers around the world.
For the first month of 2016, we looked at people’s reasons for trying to look good and the time they spend on personal grooming. What we found in this study was that peoples’ top three motivations for wanting to “look their best” are in order to feel good about themselves, to make a good impression on people they meet for the first time, and to set a good example for their children. Italians, Argentinians and Americans spend the most time on personal grooming each week, and the top three motivations for looking good change depending on respondents’ ages.
In February, we looked at virtual interactions, asking participants if they felt that virtual interactions can be “as good as being there”. Internationally, 23% of online consumers agreed that virtual interactions with people and places can be as good as being there in person. Brazil and Turkey have the highest level of agreement, while Germany and Sweden disagreed with the statement the most. Internet users aged 20-29 and 30-39 years old were the age groups most likely to agree.
Company responsibility was the topic for March. We asked over 27,000 people worldwide to select the top three most important responsibilities for companies today. The three most important were providing good jobs for people (47%), producing good quality products or services (41%) and being environmentally responsible (37%).
For April, we discovered that savers just outnumber fun-lovers internationally, asking people in 22 countries if they want to “enjoy life today and worry about savings and investments later”. We found that women are more likely to be savings-minded, and that twenty-somethings beat teenagers on highest percentage of fun-lovers. Out of all the countries surveyed, Hong Kong was the only country where over half of the online population favored saving today.
In May, we studied which countries have the biggest percentage of pet owners, and what kind of pets were the most popular. Among the results were that over half of people internationally have a pet living with them, and that Argentina, Mexico and Brazil have the highest percentage of pet-owners, while Asians are least likely to own a pet.
For the month of June, we asked participants how strongly they agree or disagree that “to me, it is important to always be reachable, wherever I am”. Nearly half (42%) of the connected population internationally firmly agreed with the “always reachable” mindset, while 11% firmly disagreed. Germany, Sweden, Canada and Netherlands had the highest level of disagreement with the importance of being always reachable.
Are consumers always concerned about their safety and security? This was our focus question for July, and we found that 32% of the online population firmly agree that they are “always concerned about my safety and security”. Brazil and Turkey have the highest levels of safety concern, while Sweden, Germany and Netherlands lead for feeling safe. Age has little impact on numbers concerned for personal safety and security.
Home improvement aspirations was the topic for August, looking at which aspects of the home that people would most like to improve if they could. 39% of those surveyed chose the “interior décor or design” of their home as the area most needing improvement, while “the overall size or layout” and “the furniture” closely followed (38% and 35%, respectively). Women were more likely to choose décor, while men were more concerned about the size and layout of their homes.
September showed us that a third of the people surveyed track their health or fitness using an online or mobile application, or using a fitness band, clip, or smartwatch. China leads all countries in this trend, with 45% of its online population monitoring their health and fitness. Brazil and USA are at 29%, with Germany (28%) and France (26%) following. China, Russia, France, Australia and Canada have more women tracking their health or fitness than men.
For the month of October, we looked at consumers’ physical concerns around aging and which conditions they worried most about having now or in the future. Internationally, the top five concerns are eyesight getting poorer, not being as mentally alert, lacking energy, having trouble taking care of themselves physically, and losing mobility / being unable to walk or drive. In Russia, “losing your teeth” was a top five concern, while “getting wrinkles or sagging skin” rated highly in Japan and Korea.
The final topic for 2016 looked at how often people in different countries help others or do volunteer work. People in the Netherlands and the USA are the most generous with their time, with a quarter of their online populations helping others or doing volunteer work at least once a week or more. They are followed by Mexicans at 22%. Internationally, less than a quarter of people say they never help others or do volunteer work.
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Hannah Duffy, senior user experience (UX) consultant at GfK, will share perspectives on the topic “Avoiding the storm in the NHS through design.
Manufacturers of medical products are challenged by a frequently-changing and competitive market environment. In order for manufacturers to stay ahead of the competition, they need to fully understand the market landscape and their competitive field.
Let’s explore: regulatory requirements to patient-centered market access.