As many people use the New Year as a time to set healthy resolutions, a fair proportion are likely to be using digital technology to help them. A survey by Gallup reveals that nearly half (45%) of Americans have at least tried digital health products such as fitness trackers or mobile health apps.
Indeed, 1 in 5 (20%) have tried or are using both fitness trackers and apps. So what about those currently using such technology? While this survey was carried out in the first half of November (meaning that holiday purchases and ambitions for 2020 may have had an impact), at the time some 20% of men and 17% of women were using an app to track their health statistics. Figures were broadly similar for fitness tracker usage too, although more women (21%) than men (16%) were wearing them.
Health app users are more likely to be younger, with adults under the age of 55 about twice as likely (24-25%) as those 55 and older (12%) to use them. This difference might in part be explained by differences in smartphone ownership across generations.
Current fitness tracker usage paints a similar story. For example, 18-34-year-olds are almost three times more likely as those ages 55 and up to use fitness trackers (28% and 10%, respectively).
Marked differences can also be seen across Americans of different income groups. Among those living in households earning more than $100k, some 26% use a health app and 31% use a tracker. For those whose income is below $40k, usage is significantly lower (15% app, 14% tracker).
But for those looking to use such technology for the first time, a key question is how useful it is. The good news is that about 3 in 4 current or former fitness tracker users say the devices were very (30%) or somewhat (46%) helpful, while opinions for apps were even stronger, with more than 8 in 10 rating them as either very (29%) or somewhat helpful (53%).
As healthcare ad spend continues to grow faster in the US than elsewhere in the world, it would be safe to assume that the demand for such healthcare tech will continue to grow.
About the Data: Based on a survey of 1,015 US adults conducted in November 2019.