Consumers globally are increasingly making use of digital health tools to track everything from sleep patterns and blood glucose levels. And the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated development of technologies used to help patients with mental health conditions, manage chronic diseases, and more. Digital health has evolved from a nice-to-have service into a mass market. A significant number of people track their health and activities. Whether it's a smartwatch or an app, 44% of people in Germany now monitor at least four health-related metrics such as heart rate, blood sugar, or fitness values and 60% of the population in the US and 67% in China track their health digitally. The industry organization gfu Consumer & Home Electronics and the strategy consultancy team at Oliver Wyman surveyed in the “Heartbeat Of Progress” 4,000 consumers in Germany, Great Britain, the United States, and China.
The digital health landscape is attracting significant interest from capital markets, which have helped spur tremendous growth. Start-up funding has surged tenfold from what the industry experienced in 2015. This dynamic growth has paved the way for groundbreaking innovations, including the development of non-invasive glucose measurement technologies. Encouragingly, over 80% of consumers have shown a keen interest in these transformative advancements.
As we delve deeper into this trend, it becomes evident that the appeal of monitoring personal health is not limited to any specific demographic. It spans across generations, with both young and senior consumers showing high engagement. Considering the relative infancy of many of these tools, we anticipate a substantial increase in penetration rates, potentially pushing them from approximately 50% to an impressive 70% over the next decade. Adoption of digital tools is likely to accelerate as healthcare providers develop systems that integrate patient-generated data into the official medical record. But tech developers and healthcare organizations need to pay considerable attention to data and security privacy. In fact, 53% of survey respondents ranked a lack of regulatory guardrails for protecting data and user rights as a top concern.
What's particularly exciting is that personal health monitoring is evolving far beyond simplistic step counting and blood pressure measurement. More advanced metrics, such as skin analysis and body composition, are gaining popularity among consumers who are increasingly concerned about their well-being.
Nevertheless, it is important to acknowledge that while digital health tools offer tremendous potential, consumers continue to harbour concerns. Their reservations primarily revolve around issues of reliability, data trustworthiness, and the quality of personalized advice. These concerns represent opportunities for innovation and improvement within the industry.
For established consumer and medical technology brands, there's a clear opening to excel in this accelerating market. Consumers place a significantly higher degree of trust, around 50-60%, in these well-established brands compared to the start-ups that are currently driving the digital health market, garnering only 32% of consumer trust. This trust differential provides a strategic advantage for larger and more established players to lead the way in shaping the future of digital health technologies.