Connected Fitness on the rise as CES boosts “Digital Health” focus

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), organiser of the 2014 International CES, is predicting a major focus on connected health products at next year’s CES, with a 40 per cent increase in the amount of space dedicated to the category at the show.

According to CEA, 33 per cent of mobile device owners used their devices to track some aspect of their health over the last year; the Digital Health category (as it referred to by CEA) encompasses more than 65 exhibitors who are capitalising on this trend with products “focused on the intersection of technology, health and wellness”.

With the ageing baby boomer generation identified by CEA as one of the key trends affecting the global consumer electronics market, visitors to CES can expect to see an increase in the number of exhibitors showcasing products designed for “diagnosing, monitoring and treating a variety of illnesses”.

Karen Chupka, senior vice president, International CES and corporate business strategy, CEA, explained:

With huge improvements in health care technology and the introduction of powerful new sensors, consumers have unprecedented opportunities to monitor their health and engage more deeply in their personal health care. The 2014 CES is the natural platform to see the intersection of technology and wellness.

While the products at the high-end of the digital health category have a strong focus on the health services industry and more experimental technologies (discussion topics at CES 2014 will include “The Bionic Man” and “Beyond Wearable—It’s Invisible”), there is evidence that the focus on connected health and digital health products is filtering down to the mainstream.

Popularity of devices such as the Jawbone Up and the Fitbit Zip wireless activity tracker have consumers tracking their daily exercise, eating and sleeping habits, while more traditional sports watches such as the TomTom Runner and the Magellan Echo (pictured below) are providing fitness-focused Australians with more ways to measure and track their data as they exercise.

According to Marianne Tutty from Force Technology, distributor of the Jawbone brand, connected fitness products are starting to work their way down from early adopters to mainsteam consumers.

Health and wellness is emerging as a growing industry across many different consumer segments. The level of awareness of major health issues has increased and people are becoming more educated about products and improving their health.

Fitness gadgets are no longer solely the domain of health and fitness professionals, with many consumers now utilising the ever increasing range of wellness electronics and apps to improve their everyday wellbeing.

With more suppliers focusing on digital health at CES in 2014, retailers can expect to see plenty more from this category in the months to come.

Magellan Echo

Products such as the Magellan Echo connected sports watch have consumers tracking their health like never before.

Appliance Retailer will be heading to the 2014 International CES to provide up-to-the-minute coverage live from the show. Tune in from Tuesday 7 January 2014 to see all the news as it happens.

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