Despite the explosion of fitness trackers, health apps, and other personal-wellness products currently coming out of silicon valley, wellness startups have had a tough time ramping up by selling directly to consumers. Blame it on lack of broad interest, high costs, limited immediate benefits, and the toy-like appearance of many devices, or likely a combination thereof. Yet with the rising instances of long-term diseases like diabetes and cancer, there is a massive market to be had in helping the public better manage their personal health.
To solve this paradox, some of the more clever personal wellness startups have shifted their focus from selling directly to consumers towards selling to insurance companies and large corporations. Both of these potential markets have the same basic arithmetic – preventative care costs less than reactive care, both in terms of real dollars and time spent out of the office. For example, worker absenteeism or underperformance is expected to lead to trillions of dollars in productivity losses over the next 20 years.
This shift away from a consumer driven model to a B2B model could save many of these fledgling companies, as they are rudely presented with the fact that the average (read non-early adopter) consumer is not interested in wearing a multicolor band on their wrist that tells them exactly how fat they are getting. It is also a win for large businesses as the general workforce ages and as healthcare continues to be at the forefront of the national attention.
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