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The Digital Inflection Point is here for Conscious Consumers

Last week Mary Meeker and venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins released their annual Internet Trends Report at the Code Conference.

As our Nissa Hanna, Senior Account Planner, put it when sharing with the agency, “it’s like the Don Quixote of PowerPoints” at 355 slides long. After spending a few days reviewing it, a few trends stood out to me, particularly in the Health & Wellness space.


Approximately 25% of Americans now own a wearable, a trend we have been following on this blog for a few years. We’re now tracking the next generation of wearables 2.0, including embeddables and ingestibles. This growth (myself included) has doubled in the past year and with it comes streams of data from the accompanying accelerometers, heart rate monitors and GPS sensors.

Privacy Concerns

Even though this data is being captured, Conscious Consumers are still nervous about who they share it with. According to a Rock Health study in 2016, only the big name tech companies – Google, Microsoft, Samsung, Apple, Amazon, Facebook and IBM – were mentioned by more than a third of Conscious Consumers as trusted to receive their personal/shared data.

A lot of progress needs to happen here, but it is an opportunity for brands to act as coaches. As we have discussed, this is a strategy to connect with Conscious Consumers – talking with them, not to them.

Electronic Health Records

This seems like a similar struggle that health care providers faced over a decade ago. Back in 2004 only 21% of office-based physicians were using electronic health records, compared to 87% compliance in 2015. The result is that now the average patient has 26 unique data sets per year, between clinical results, scanned images, vital signs, medications and allergens.

Transparency, another hallmark of Conscious Consumerism, is also coming through with these electronic health records. In 2012, only 14% of providers made this data available to patients to download compared to 87% as of 2016, a 6x improvement.

The result is over 153 Exabytes of healthcare data annually. Note that is 1 Exabyte = 1 billion Gigabytes. That’s 18 zeroes!

In 1950 it took 50 years to double the amount of medical information (scientific article citations). By 1980 that dropped to 7 years and in 2010 it was cut in half to 3.5 years. With all of this medical data now available, this trend will only speed up.

Digital Health

Electronic health records was the first major shoe to drop and wearables seems to be the next big one, only accelerating the overall population – and certainly Conscious Consumer – adoption of this trend.

It took 46 years from the time Benjamin Franklin, Michael Faraday and Thomas Edison harnessed electricity to it being adopted by even 25% of the American population. The telephone (35 years), radio (31 years) and television (26 years) had similarly lengthy adoption curves.

However, recently, this gap has been shrinking, only 7 years for the Internet to reach this critical mass and start making Al Gore jokes and even less with social media (5 years) thanks to the ubiquity of MySpace and Facebook.

By this standard, digital health is already there, it is just a matter of how much more quickly it grows and how brands and marketers can capitalize on a trend of Conscious Consumers producing more and more data, being more willing to share it and working with the industry and medical community to harness it.

At CCF we are well credentialed in the health and wellness space and have worked with dozens of brands. If you are trying to carry your brand to and past this digital inflection point, let’s talk – we can help.

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