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Brief Published: 28 Oct 2015

US Digital Health Behaviours

Some 17% of US consumers use health-tracking apps

A survey of US adults by venture fund Rock Health has found their adoption of digital health services remains low, but is poised for growth.

  • Big-Name Opportunity: Rock Health calls the consumer category "one of the largest opportunities in digital health" and notes that no big brand has cornered that market yet.

  • Emerging Market: Half of US consumers have used only one digital health category (mostly web searching for health information) or none at all. Only 2% are "super-adopters" who use five to six categories. These consumers tend to be younger, sicker and more likely to own a smartphone.

  • Mobile Tracking: Some 17% of consumers use health-tracking apps. Significant numbers are already tracking health behaviours on paper, suggesting that this trend will grow. Weight and blood pressure dominate paper-based tracking and are likely to be the next things consumers will track on mobile.

  • Wearable Fitness: Wearables ownership has hit 12% – three-quarters of which comes from purchases in the past 12 months. However, users continue to quickly abandon their wearables, possibly because 28% receive theirs as gifts, while 25% of those who buy wearables themselves describe their purchase as an "experiment". Recent wearables buyers are more likely to be unhealthy, countering the assumption that only the healthy are interested.

  • Genetic Testing: Consumer adoption of genetic services is relatively low, but consumer satisfaction is high and many are considering using them. Adopters of genetic services are significantly more likely to track their health using their mobile phones and wearables.

For the latest innovations in digital health, see our coverage of Wired Health 2015.