2017 was a breakthrough year for women around the world, fueled by movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp, the Women’s March, and Wonder Woman‘s blockbuster success. In tech, a sector known as femtech (female technology) has been on the rise, spurred by more than $1 billion in funding since 2014. To celebrate International Women’s Day, research and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan released new data on this growing sector, predicting a market potential of $50 billion by 2025.
Although many would have you believe that femtech is a niche sector (*eye roll*), it targets 50 percent of the global population. From period-tracking apps to smart breast pumps and sexual wellness products, Femtech caters to women’s needs and health in many ways, whether you’re a teenager, a mother in her 40s, or a post menopausal baby boomer.
According to Frost & Sullivan, women’s concerns are not only gaining more attention across the health care industry, but women also have higher purchasing power. The rise of this “she economy” could give a massive boost to the femtech sector.
Frost & Sullivan gave the following insights on women’s economic power and customer behavior:
- 80 percent of the household health care spending is done by women. Working age females spend 29 percent more per capita on health care compared to males in the same age group.
- 50 percent of global health care customers are women, and they are the primary caregivers for the elderly and children.
- 66 percent of female internet users look online for health care information. Women are 75 percent more likely to use digital tools for health care than men.
- 80 percent of health care professionals are women. Most are nurses, and <40 percent are in executive or managerial positions.
- 4 percent of CEOs and 21 percent of board members at Fortune 500 health care companies are women, numbers that are expected to increase.
Femtech is also helping provide more accessible and affordable health care for women around the world. Whether through contraceptive apps or an online delivery service for birth control, women are turning to technology when insurance companies fail to address their needs.
There are already myriad startups in the femtech space, from period-tracking apps like Clue and Glow to period care lines like Flex and Cora. But big corporations are starting to pay attention, as well.
“The femtech market shows immense potential because the need for gender-specific solutions are increasingly being recognized,” wrote Shruthi Parakkal, a senior research analyst at Frost & Sullivan’s Transformational Health branch, in an email to VentureBeat. “Several established biopharmaceutical companies are increasingly recognizing the need for differentiated solutions for women. Examples can be Merck for Mothers, which is a $500 million initiative focusing on maternal and infant health. Another example is Novartis’ focus on gender-specific medicine, especially in its clinical research and therapy approaches.”
When it comes to reproductive health, the target audience can expand beyond women to include their partners. Indeed, with about 10 percent of women (6.1 million) in the U.S. having difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant, couples are turning to technological assistance through fertility startups like Univfy.
So femtech is growing, though how quickly and what exactly that means remains to be seen. In any case, a market potential of $50 billion is nothing to scoff at.