General care  

Consumer electronics companies move into over-the-counter healthcare devices

15 January 2007

Cambridge, UK.  Consumer electronics companies are exploiting the growing demand for devices and services that help people remain trim, fit and mentally alert, according to a report by UK analysts Wireless Healthcare.

The report "eHealth And Consumer Electronics", suggests the market for consumer electronics based therapeutic and well-being devices and services will grow by 20% per annum and could be worth $4 billion per annum by 2010. Wireless Healthcare highlights developments such as Nintendo's 'Brain Age' software, which helps people retain mental agility. Nintendo has sold 20 million of its DS units and Brain Age has helped it break into the ageing baby boomer market — not a demographic group that usually buys video games.

The report also examines the market for devices that reduce blood pressure and hypertension by teaching the user to breathe correctly. These products are based on simple ECG technology and are used as part of stress-reduction programmes. The report identifies web sites that allow users to upload ECG data from devices — including exercise monitors — as potential platforms for next-generation ehealth services.

Peter Kruger, Analyst with Wireless Healthcare, said, "Some of these services are being promoted by healthcare payers who have a vested interest in preventative healthcare. We feel that, in the long term, these services will disrupt the business models of incumbent healthcare providers."

As the exercise device market becomes more competitive, vendors will add healthcare-related features to their fitness subscription-based services in an attempt to maintain margins and increase brand loyalty. The report points to a range of subscription-style services that support both dieting and exercise and estimates the online well-being market could be worth up to $2 billion per annum by 2010. However, the report warns that services such as mobile phone-based online dieting will not maintain growth without support from established players in the diet management sector.

The report is available from 

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