Disabled and Elderly Assistive Technologies in the U.S.

Oct 2008| HLC047B| BCC Publishing

Report Highlights

  • The U.S. market for assistive technology is expected to be worth $38.2 billion in 2008, up from $36.4 billion in 2007. This should increase to $49.3 billion in 2013, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.3%.
  • The vision and reading aids segment dominates the market, generating $24.9 billion in 2007 and an estimated $26.1 billion in 2008 and $33.3 billion in 2013, a CAGR of 5.0%.
  • The communication aids segment is worth $4.4 billion in 2007. This should increase slightly in 2008 and reach $5.4 billion in 2013, for a CAGR of 4.0%.



Assistive technology products are products designed to assist people who, because of specific disabilities or the general infirmities that often accompany old age, would otherwise be unable to participate meaningfully in economic, social, political, cultural, and other forms of human activity in their communities. Assistive technology encompasses a broad range of devices, from “low-tech” products such as eyeglasses and large-print books, to technologically sophisticated products such as voice synthesizers, Braille readers, and wireless monitoring devices.
BCC published its last report on disabled and elderly assistive technologies in 2005. Since that time, continued progress in medical science and technology and health care, combined with demographic trends, societal evolution and changing attitudes have continued to drive the market for assistive technologies. Thus, it would seem that the time has come for a new review of the market’s overall size and direction.
Not only has there been substantial growth in the number of disabled and elderly people, but they are living longer lives and living independently or semi-independently longer. These individuals need to perform activities such as shopping, personal hygiene, and communications that once might have been performed by a family member or institutional caregiver.
Not only do many disabled and elderly people need to perform basic activities for themselves, but they have also undergone a revolution in their life expectations. They may now expect to be gainfully employed, participate in the political process, and attend cultural and social events, to name only some of the possibilities.
These changes have coincided with dramatic shifts in public and professional attitudes toward the disabled and the elderly. Persons with disabilities, including the elderly, are now considered full citizens entitled to receive a range of services of their choosing to maintain their quality of life and enjoy full inclusion in society.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, which took effect July 26, 1992, is the clearest expression of this attitudinal shift. The ADA says, in essence, that participation in the mainstream of daily life is an American right, regardless of race, religion, or disability.
The ADA contains provisions dealing with equality of employment, equal access to government services, equal access to private businesses that deal with the public, and telecommunications for the disabled. Subsequent legislation and decisions by the courts have clarified and extended the basic provisions of the ADA, in a process that has continued up to the present. These demographic, social, political, and legal developments have created an opportunity as well as a challenge for medical technology and manufacturing to develop and commercialize new products
The goal of the report is to examine market opportunities for assistive technology products that are now on the market or that are likely to enter the market over the rest of the decade. Specific objectives of the report include analyzing the following: 
  • Major product types and applications, both commercial and developmental
  • Market size and segmentation, including historical data on sales by application and product type
  • Market drivers and constraints
  • Detailed market projections through 2013
  • Industry structure, competition and market shares
  • Factors that may influence the long-term market for assistive technologies
The report has been written explicitly for those with an interest in disabled and elderly care issues, including the following: 
  • Healthcare professionals
  • Manufacturers and distributors
  • Regulators and health insurers
  • Investors
  • The financial and analyst community
The report is tailored especially for readers with an interest in the marketing, financial, and management dimensions of the assistive technologies industry. However, readers with a more general interest in disabled and elderly care may find it useful as well.
The scope of the report encompasses the U.S. market for the various types of devices and products that are on the market or under development to enable disabled and elderly persons to move about, see, hear, speak, dress themselves, and perform many other everyday activities as “normally” as possible. In the past few years, BCC has published a number of other reports in related areas, such as prosthetics and orthotics, microelectronic medical implants, drugs for the elderly, and anti-aging products.
The findings and conclusions of these other reports will be cited in this report, where appropriate, for the sake of completeness. However, it is not the author’s intention to duplicate their coverage and analysis, focusing its attention instead on the following: 
  • Mobility and dexterity-enhancing products
  • Products for the vision, hearing and speech-impaired
  • Toileting and incontinence products
  • Medical/personal monitoring products
  • Other products such as environmental controls and daily living aids
This report does not cover physical therapy and exercise equipment designed for the elderly and disabled. The scope of this report also does not include therapeutic treatments such as surgery that are intended to mitigate or eliminate the underlying causes of a particular disability.
In terms of format, the report is divided into the following major sections: 
  • Technologies used in disabled and elderly care products
  • Conditions and applications addressed
  • Product types
  • Legal, regulatory, and insurance issues
  • Patent and IP issues
  • Market size and segmentation
  • Market drivers
  • Market projections, 2007–2013
  • Industry size and structure
  • Competition and market shares 
The findings and conclusions of this report are based on information gathered from manufacturers and distributors, hospitals, doctors, and other end users. Interview data were combined with information gathered through an extensive review of secondary sources such as trade publications, trade associations, company literature, and online databases to produce the baseline market estimates contained in this report.
The base year for analysis and projection is 2007. With 2007 as a baseline, market, projections were developed for 2008–2013. These projections are based on a combination of a consensus among the primary contacts combined with our understanding of the key market drivers and their impact, from an historical and analytical perspective. The analytical methodologies used to generate the market estimates are described in detail in the section on Detailed Market Projections.
All dollar projections presented in this report are in 2007 constant dollars. 
The author of this report is Andrew McWilliams. Mr. McWilliams, a partner in the Boston-based international technology and marketing consulting firm of 43rd Parallel, LLC, is the author of the previous edition of this report. He is also the author of several other BCC Research studies related to the subject of this report, including Microelectronic Medical Implants: Products, Technologies and Opportunities; Patient Monitoring; The Home Medical Equipment Market; and Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Cosmetic Enhancement Products.

Table of Contents & Pricing

All reports provided in PDF format. For shared licensing options (5+ Users), please call a representative at (+1) 781-489-7301 or contact us at info@bccresearch.com
Title/Chapter NamePagesPrice Member Price
Full Report: Disabled and Elderly Assistive Technologies in the U.S.158 $2,750 Free
Chapter- 1: INTRODUCTION5Free
Chapter- 2: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY2$250Free
Chapter- 3: OVERVIEW 63$1,097Free
Chapter- 4: U.S. MARKET FOR ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGIES, 2007–201367$1,166Free
Chapter- 6: VENDOR PROFILES11$191Free
Published - Dec-2005| Analyst - Andrew McWilliams| Code - HLC047A

Report Highlights

  • The U.S. market for assistive technologies is projected to rise from $30.7 billion in 2005 to $39.4 billion in 2010, an AAGR (average annual growth rate) of 5.2%.
  • The market excluding eyeglasses and contacts is estimated at $8.7 billion and rising to $11.3 billion in 2010, an AAGR of 5.4%.
  • The largest market segments after vision and reading aids are daily living aids, mobility aids (expected to drop from 7.2% of the market to 5.7% in 2010) and communication aids.
  • Access aids appear poised to increase their market share from 2.9% in 2004 to 4.3% in 2010.
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