Report: PERS market to double by 2019

IHS: Younger average PERS user will drive growth, but just how young those users will be up is still up for debate
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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

WELLINGBOROUGH, England—It’s a simple formula: A younger PERS user means a longer account life, and a longer account life means lower rates of attrition. Over the next five years, the North American PERS market is poised to grow on the strength of that proposition, rising from $700 million in 2014 to $1.5 billion by 2019, according to a recently published report from IHS.

The report, titled “The North American and European Markets for Personal Emergency Response Systems and Lone Worker Monitoring Services - 2014,” suggests that mobile applications for PERS devices, commonly known as mPERS, are playing a major role in lowering the average age of users.

“[Mobile PERS units] are enabling a longer retention rate,” Oliver Philippou, senior analyst – video surveillance and security services, IHS, told Security Systems News. “The product is attractive to a younger, more active elderly person for a PERS account, and that in itself is enabling a longer contract life.”

With traditional in-home PERS units, the contract life is fairly short, Philippou explained, noting that such devices are ordinarily intended for seniors either near the end of life or close to the end of independent living.

According to his research, Philippou said the average user age for PERS devices is about 78. By the end of the forecast period, in 2019, that number could come down to about 74, leading to lower attrition rates and year-over-year growth, Philippou noted.

Toward the latter half of the forecast period and beyond, Philippou envisions users in their late 60s gravitating to mobile PERS solutions, specifically for their telehealth and activity monitoring functionalities.

While some have predicted that much younger folks will begin using mPERS, Philippou does not expect mPERS adoption by much younger folks—think college students—to become a broad market trend during the forecast period.

Philippou was quick to point out that while software applications are a growing segment of the market, they currently comprise just a “relatively small market share.”

“For example, devices with a pendant or buttons on a wristwatch are really going to be the dominant product for the foreseeable future,” he said. “That’s not going to shift significantly [during the forecast period].”

Central station monitoring companies stand to fare well during the forecast period and beyond, even in view of the fact that that PERS-specific companies are “by far” the market leaders for PERS, Philippou noted. Because of their additional revenue streams from their core business offerings, some of the larger alarm monitoring companies are especially well equipped to add “muscle into the market,” even if PERS remains something of a niche offering within the physical security space, Philippou said.

Right now, the debate over just how young an audience the burgeoning mobile PERS market can attract remains inconclusive, Philippou said. This is due in part to the relative newness of the market. Some companies, according to Philippou, believe they can bring in subscribers up to 10 years younger than their current average age, while others hold more conservative estimates over what kind of demographic reach mPERS can have.