The Digital Health Revolution
“Digital health is one of the fastest growing and highest margin categories that exists in the market today,” said Philippe Schwartz, senior vice president and general manager of Withings U.S., a newly established division of Paris-based Withings, which has been selling digital health and fitness products since 2008. Parks Associates forecasts that 4.3 million consumers will use Internet-connected vital-sign monitoring devices by 2016, for projected revenues of $1.5 billion.
“We encourage retailers to be aggressive, but success is driven by more than just putting products on the shelf,” Schwartz said. “It requires the right merchandising and a clear understanding that you need education, marketing and a sales force that can pitch the advantages. One of the biggest challenges is helping more people understand that well-being, which eventually leads to better health because you’re doing it on a preventative basis and not after the fact, is really the way to go.”
In addition to low consumer awareness of the category, CE retailers face obstacles in establishing themselves as authorities in the field. “The big struggle for retailers is having the voice of authority in health and wellness,” Kent said, pointing to Parks research showing that consumers are more inclined to buy devices such as blood-pressure monitors at a drug store (33 percent) than at an electronics retailer (three percent).