Age-Tech is booming. With digitization pervading every aspect of our daily lives, it is no wonder that as people age they are looking for the same technological conveniences and assistances for their evolving lifestyle. While much innovation in the digital space has been targeted at the needs of younger populations, the tech industry is beginning to see the lucrative benefits and huge potential in developing tech products that cater to seniors – segmented into the various needs and abilities of the wide-ranging and growing demographic. With the number of Americans over the age of 60 poised to double by 2060, from 46 million today to 98 million, according to a 2016 report, this need is only going to expand in the coming decade and brand licensing has the potential to add significant value to the charge.
Age-Tech, the term coined for the emerging segment of health technology that focuses on innovation to improve the lives of seniors, is a rapidly developing sector. Age-Tech encompasses products and services that are:
- Purchased by older people
- Delivered to older people
- Purchased on behalf of older people
- Traded between generations
To highlight this trend, let’s look at a few examples of innovative companies that are tailoring their technologies for the senior space.
Products/Services Purchased by Older People
Baby Boomers are retiring in droves, and they have more money than the retirement demographic has ever seen before. Additionally, they have a greater familiarity and ease with technology. This generation uses technology much more than previous generations of Americans. Even still, they will require different services and needs based on their age and interests. Expect to see companies like Airbnb, Grubhub, Skype and Seamless develop user experiences to cater to an older demographic. These minor adaptations to an age-agnostic service will be more accepted and integrated by seniors than apps specifically and exclusively designed for an elderly demographic.
One example is the GreatCall and Lyft partnership called GreatCall Rides. Older people, like everyone else, would benefit from ride-sharing to get from A to B, but many are not comfortable with ordering one on their smart-phones. These two companies have combined to give access to the Lyft car network for GreatCall customers, without requiring them to master a smart-phone or an App. It’s a way for older people to have access to the same services that technology has afforded but without needing the same level of adeptness as a younger consumer.
Delivered to Older People
Amazon recently made a splash when they announced their plans to acquire PillPack, a small startup that mails prescriptions to people who take multiple medications for a reported $1 billion. Founded in 2014, PillPack provides mail order medication at savings to the consumer. Companies like PillPack set the stage to help serve healthcare customers with quality, on-demand access to getting prescriptions quickly and efficiently and with Baby Boomers evolving to need more medical care and prescriptions, this convenient solution is bound to spark similar enterprises.
Purchased on Behalf of Older People
Technology expands our ability to interact with our health and healthcare in more informed and proactive ways. Besides a service like PillPack, tech products for seniors and their caretakers make health tracking and care management more convenient. Wearable watches, like WiseWear, can track your heart rate, calories and sleep patterns. Additionally the devise has a safety feature that the user can tap the bracelet 3 times as a distress signal that is then sent to the emergency contacts linked to the device. Your exact GPS location is transmitted. Connected to a smartphone, it also provides notification features for incoming calls and important alerts, such as medication reminders. Expect to see devices like this more and more in the future.
Trading Between Generations
Home sharing and co-living are gaining popularity in recent years. Most co-living platforms target young individuals who like the convenience of living in a place that provides much more than just a roof over their heads. Nesterly entered that competitive space with an innovative solution – match seniors who live alone and have extra space, with young adults who are looking for affordable housing. It’s a win-win solution. These types of interactive services and products, between the young and the old, will continue to grow as technology becomes more and more embedded into our day-to-day lives.
What does this mean for licensing?
Age-tech is positioned for strong long-term growth, and in a segment where many of the companies leading the charge are startups, having a brand that has strong recognition and a trusted reputation can add tremendous value in pushing a business’ mission and revenue forward. Brand licensing, a $280 billion industry, continues to be a vital part of the consumer marketplace, and a versatile tool for brand owners and licensees to build their businesses. The power of an established brand name cannot be underestimated, especially among a demographic that has strong brand loyalty.
For companies with low brand awareness, brand licensing can offer instantaneous recognition. While an Age-Tech company might have a leading technology and an innovative product or service, they may be relatively unknown. Through brand licensing, a company with very little exposure can reach a far broader audience and have global recognition for their product or service by partnering with a well-known brand, spring-boarding them to success faster and more efficiently. In addition to exposure, licensing can also enhance a product or service’s authenticity and credibility. Pairing a digital product with a brand that is a leader in the electronics space helps a company gain immediate legitimacy and authenticity with consumers and also provides more accessibility and credibility for retail buyers.
Conversely, for a well-known brand, Age-Tech is exactly the type of emerging trend a brand should be a part of to remain top of mind for senior consumers. Poised to be a huge industry, brands with high awareness and a strong loyalty with the Baby Boomer demographic stand to capitalize tremendously on licensing Age-Tech products and services, extending their brand into complementary categories that will enhance the equity of the brand in a core demographic.
From products and services that help manage healthcare for seniors to those that boost their social life, tech geared toward the retirement population is positioned to be the next huge disruptor in the tech industry, and brand licensing has the potential to add tremendous value to these efforts. As the next decade unfolds, one thing’s for certain: Age-Tech will help older generations not only live longer but live better.
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