April 24, 2024

Empowering Accessibility: The Evolution of Assistive Technology

Assistive technology products help people cope with impairments and disabilities to perform tasks that might otherwise be difficult or impossible. This includes mobility devices like walkers and wheelchairs, as well as listening devices for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Global assistive technology market size was valued at US$ 22.98 Bn in 2023 and is estimated to reach US$ 32.25 Bn by 2030, exhibiting a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.7% during the forecast period.

Market Dynamics:

The assistive technology market is expected to witness significant growth over the forecast period owing to rising geriatric population and increasing cases of disabilities worldwide. As per UN data, the global population aged 60 years and older is expected to reach 1.4 billion by 2030 from 962 million in 2017. Geriatric population is more prone to chronic diseases and disabilities which fuels the demand for assistive products like mobility aids, hearing aids, and vision aids. Furthermore, rising per capita healthcare expenditure in emerging economies is also driving the sales of assistive technologies for improved quality of life. Rising motor vehicle accidents and increasing cases of hearing and visual disabilities are some other factors contributing to market growth during the forecast period.

Market Driver:

With the global population getting older at an unprecedented rate, more and more people are being diagnosed with chronic health conditions like diabetes, arthritis, heart disease etc. According to WHO, by 2050 over 2 billion people will be aged 60 or older. The elderly population is more prone to disabilities and loss of independence. At the same time, cases of chronic diseases have surged worldwide which often lead to some form of disability or loss of function in patients over time. This growing prevalence of disabilities due to aging and underlying health conditions has significantly boosted the demand for assistive technologies like walking aids, wheelchairs, communication devices etc which help patients perform daily tasks and improve their quality of life.

Market Restrain:

While technology is enabling development of more powerful and patient- tailored assistive solutions, most advanced products still involve significant costs which many individuals and families cannot afford easily. For example, cost of breakthrough bionic limbs or sophisticated exoskeleton suits can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars. Even basic medical equipment like hospital beds, wheelchairs and walkers are priced high in many countries. The out of pocket costs for such devices often act as a barrier for people with limited economic means. Additionally, public and private insurance coverage for assistive technologies also varies greatly worldwide. This economic inaccessibility posed by the high prices of assistive products remains a major roadblock in the overall market growth currently.

Market Opportunity:

Emerging economies in Asia Pacific and Latin America present a massive untapped market opportunity on account of their huge combined population and rapidly growing elderly demographics prone to disabilities. In India and China alone, the number of people aged 60 years and above is projected to rise to over 500 million by 2050 as per United Nations. At the same time, communicable and chronic diseases prevalent in developing countries often lead to disability. However, penetration of assistive technologies remains very low currently due to lack of awareness and affordability issues. With economic development and government initiatives to support disabled community, emerging markets provide a large addressable consumer base for assistive products in the coming decade. International players can tap into this substantial opportunity through innovative low-cost product designs and financing models.

Market Trend:

One of the major trends witnessed recently in the assistive technology sector is the integration of cloud computing capabilities and remote healthcare services. Vendors are increasingly launching connective devices that can link users to their care providers, families and social circles virtually through centralized web/mobile platforms. This allows remote monitoring of patients, software upgrades for smart devices from anywhere, video consultations and assistance on demand. The COVID-19 pandemic further accelerated this transition as social distancing increased reliance on digital health solutions. Going forward, more assistive product companies are expected to adopt cloud-based operating systems and merge virtual caregiving models into their service offerings. This trend will maximize the utility as well as outreach of assistive technologies.

*Note:

  1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
  2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it