Tech companies catering to baby boomers

Tech companies catering to baby boomers

Jonathan Takiff, The Philadelphia Inquirer
Printed 11:04 p.m. ET Nov. 22, 2017

Hammacher Schlemmer’s Circulation Enhancing Foot and Calf Massager
(Picture: Hammacher Schlemmer)

“What a drag it’s getting outdated,” Mick Jagger first whined on “Mom’s Little Helper” from the Rolling Stones’ 1966 “Aftermath” album.
However for individuals who first heard these plaints means again when and are nonetheless strolling this Earth, getting older isn’t so unhealthy. Being a part of the large child growth era even has its benefits. Boomers have numerical clout, financial savings and Social Safety, which provides as much as important shopping for energy. And desires that should be met.
So heaps extra consideration is being paid to the bulging 50-plus populace — firms that customise items and companies for it, retailers reminiscent of Hammacher Schlemmer that courtroom it, and web sites reminiscent of Tech50plus.com that help and chronicle it. All are on a mission to maintain boomers wholesome and blissful.
One of many extra enduring direct-mail and on-line retailers, Hammacher Schlemmer used to supply just some novelties for seniors. Bear in mind big-button telephones and oversize TV distant controls?

Now, a big share of Hammacher’s “better of the very best” wellness and entertainment-focused merchandise handle the Silver Tech market full bore. And the “core” of the corporate’s viewers — tapped with mailings of 50 million catalogs yearly and a powerful on-line presence — is “10 years older than it was within the 1980s and ’90s,” falling heaviest within the 50- to 70-year-old set “who fortunately hold coming again for extra,” stated director of merchandising Stephen Farrell.
“You recognize that cliché about ‘60 being the brand new 50’, and ‘70 being the brand new 60’? There actually is a few reality to it,” Farrell stated.

On the draw back, wanting marvelous and never performing mature can get sophisticated. “You might have a pleasant automotive however your again is hurting” — the explanation for Hammacher’s high-tech Heated LED Again Ache Reliever, an antidote developed by NASA. “Or chances are you’ll exit and play 18 holes of golf however afterward your toes are killing you.” –– a purpose for the Hammacher Schlemmer-exclusive Circulation Enhancing Foot and Calf Therapeutic massage System. Akin to units prescribed for unhealthy circulation, it provides medical-grade deep-tissue shiatsu therapeutic massage, compression, and warmth for a mere $259.95.
Hammacher additionally sells voice-clarifying listening units (with out FDA approval, these low cost options can’t be known as listening to aids).
Enabling tech is likewise a serious focus with Tech50plus.com, a web site steered by journalist and public-policy wonk Gary Kaye. “My feeling is that going into (our) 50s, 60s, and 70s, most of us haven’t misplaced our ardour for tech,” he stated. “What we have now misplaced is a few of our eyesight, a few of our listening to. However largely what we’ve misplaced is the endurance to cope with stuff that doesn’t work proper.”
That’s the place to begin for Tech50plus opinions and options. “Each time we choose one thing up — a pill, a smartphone, an e-bike, or a chunk of journey gear — we’re asking, ‘Will this work for our viewers? Is it 50-plus pleasant, what’s the frustration issue, and is it well worth the cash? Is the proprietor’s guide poorly written, or do you want a magnifying glass to learn it? When you’ll be able to’t get it going, is the tech help responsive? Or will that product wind up in a drawer, by no means used?’ ”
Linked well being care merchandise, a fast-growing class that covers every thing from health trackers to distant monitoring of persistent situations, earns particular examine at Tech50plus.com. With not sufficient native docs to serve the rising senior inhabitants, Kaye sees nice promise in telehealth consultations with sufferers (utilizing tablets, telephones or computer systems), “which at the moment are accredited for fee by Medicare for companies like follow-up consultations, psychotherapy, and behavioral counseling for diabetes and weight problems.”
And with massive weapons like Intel and Qualcomm on board, heaps extra med-tech is brewing — reminiscent of voice-activated information entry that “will free docs to really have a look at you rather than their laptop screens” and “disaggregated” Large Information evaluation of medical studies, “which is able to velocity illness cures with machine studying and synthetic intelligence.”
Some seniors are frightened by the notion of autonomous vehicles ruling the roads, Kaye embraces the plan: “It is going to be terrific for the rising variety of folks dwelling into their 90s who wish to keep cellular however actually shouldn’t be driving.”

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