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Reaching an Untapped Market

CES 2019 was a showcase for many life-changing technologies. The CTA Foundation, in its mission to link seniors and people with disabilities with technologies to enhance their lives, is focused on highlighting these technologies to ensure individuals can identify the devices and apps that meet their needs.

By 2030, the U.S. population over age 65 will reach more than 20 percent. The U.S. Census also reports that in 2020 – for the first time – the global population over 65 will be greater than that under 65. That trend is continuing with the population over 65 reaching double the population under it by 2050. Along with the sheer size of this market, there is incredible economic power behind this population.

AARP reported in 2016 the economic impact of Americans over 50 is $7.6 trillion including $5.6 trillion spending on consumer goods and services. And despite the stereotype of older adults’ light spending on technology, the buying power of this population increases when the value proposition is properly explained. In addition to the aging population, the disability community represents a similar 15 percent of the population and over one billion people worldwide. Yet despite these large and growing numbers, these markets are often overlooked.

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Tech at CES 2019

The CTA Foundation partnered with CTA to bring leaders from organizations representing the aging and disability communities to CES. These leaders came to CES to meet with exhibitors, provide feedback on what works and where there are opportunities to address their needs, and report back to their members about the innovations on display.

The Accessibility Marketplace included many amazing technologies that enable people to work, live and play regardless of age or ability. Technologies from vehicle tech to smart homes, health and fitness to gaming, enable people to live healthy and independent lives.

Companies like Lizn, Nuheara, Oticon and Widex are addressing hearing loss. The American Printing House for the Blind, OrCam, Sensible Innovations and Vispero are addressing vision loss. Whill and Tobii are addressing mobility, along with a range of companies implementing voice assistants and voice control into their products. Telepresence robotics companies like Suitable Technologies and OhmniLabs, help address social isolation. In Eureka Park, CES’ dedicated startup space, attendees could see new innovators from around the world, including the five CTA Foundation accessibility prize winners.

And, new this year was the CTA Foundation pitch event, sponsored by AARP, which identified technologies that bring people together and fight isolation.

Steve Ewell