They are far more likely to suffer from many major maladies than the population at large.
Your favorite tech advisor is more likely to suffer from ED. Or heart disease. Or IBS. So maybe it’s time to invest in mobile health applications.
Adults who are self-described as tech savvy, first adopters of technology, and regular advisors to friends and family about tech products, (aka “tech influencers”) comprise a projected population of 45.6 million, or roughly 25 percent of U.S. adults. They are 59 percent male; 62 percent spend more than 20 hours per week online; and 87 percent are at least medium-heavy users of social media. Geographically, they are more likely to live near Miami, Houston, Brooklyn, Fresno or San Francisco. Chances are, they’re wearing an Apple Watch, or standing in line to purchase one.
When we examined this group more closely, we expected to find strong interests in green futures, education, and innovative products. But we were surprised to learn that tech influencers seem to be dealing with a surfeit of medical maladies. Self-described tech influencers over-index for a wide variety of medical conditions affecting themselves or a loved one for whom they are principal caregiver.
Early tech adopters are, for example, 72 percent more likely than the general population to have suffered a heart attack or been treated for a heart condition within the past year. They’re 43 percent more likely to be taking insulin at least five times weekly for diabetes, and 41 percent more likely to suffer from a respiratory condition. They also over-index for a wide variety of medical conditions not generally linked to a sedentary lifestyle, such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, erectile dysfunction, and low testosterone.
The following chart summarizes the various medical conditions with which tech influencers are more likely to be contending, either themselves or on behalf of a family member:Is there some heretofore-unexamined link between a tech-savvy lifestyle and ongoing health issues? One clue might be their professions, or those of their loved ones. A 2011 report from the journal Plos One found that jobs requiring moderate physical activity have plummeted from 50 percent of the labor market in 1960 to just 20 percent. Tech influencers, meanwhile, over-index in IT and computer-related professions, jobs that leave them sedentary for much of their day.
And copious research has shown that sedentary lifestyles can kill. According to research compiled by LifeSpan, such lifestyles are responsible for an estimated $24 billion in direct medical spending. Researchers have linked this explosion of physical inactivity to such diabolical killers as heart disease and diabetes—both of which tech influencers are dealing with at greater rates than the general population. In addition to sedentary lifestyles, the aging U.S. population will also influence the adoption of mobile health apps—with almost 20 percent of Americans projected to be older than 65 by 2030, tech influencers will be caring for family members vulnerable to age-related health issues.
The likelihood that tech influencers are facing myriad health issues makes them ripe to become early adopters of mobile health technology. They are vocal about their health issues: tech influencers are 87 percent more likely to discuss their health issues on social media, which means they’re likely to trumpet the benefits of the latest mobile health apps. In terms of motivational attributes, they’re motivated by a sense of accomplishment, concern for the future, pride, self-fulfillment, and self-image—all attributes that will lead tech influencers to seek out, adopt, and promote technology that improves their health and the health of their loved ones.
So next time you ask your favorite tech influencer for advice, maybe offer an asprin or some green tea, or even a treadmill desk as a “thank you.”