Amazon and AARP, whose members are 50 or older, have since 2015 been discussing partnerships to research and develop technology for older people, including in healthcare, CNBC reports. Amazon didn't immediately return Retail Dive's request for comment. An AARP spokesperson noted in an email that the company, "meet[s] regularly with other innovators that may be able to improve the lives of older Americans. Too often, the needs of this growing population are overlooked or unmet in the marketplace, and we seek to spark new solutions."
At a forum hosted by health marketing company Klick Health last month, Amazon VP Babak Parviz, noting older Americans' many "unmet needs," said that "radical solutions" are needed to address healthcare and increasing isolation among the baby boomer generation, according to the report.
The report comes amid Amazon's increased activity in the healthcare sector, including a new exclusive line of over-the-counter medications and healthcare items, clearance of regulatory hurdles in the pharmacy space and, with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase, the formation of an independent company to explore healthcare coverage innovations.
Due to their massive numbers, baby boomers have attracted retailers and marketers for decades now. The Beatles catalog alone continues to rack up sales thanks in large part to their enduring loyalty.
As a generation, defined by the boom in births after World War II, they peaked at 78.8 million in 1999 but remain the largest living adult generation, with an estimated 74.1 million in 2016, according to the Pew Research Center. That means that, beyond the Beatles, Boomers tend to move into various circles of focus as their generation enters various stages of life. These days, that increasingly means products and services that older people need, especially healthcare.
The size and high level of political awareness have long given AARP sizable clout with policymakers and marketers, so Amazon's move to work with the organization is a no-brainer. According to CNBC, Parviz and his team asked AARP about the size of the elderly market and whether those populations trusted Amazon. That presumably also includes members of Gen X, who alone have been largely ignored by marketers, sandwiched as they are between baby boomers and the even larger millennial generation. But that generation is also aging and makes up a good portion of AARP's membership.
Technology, many observers have told Retail Dive, will be the crux of Amazon's effort in healthcare, as it has been in all aspects of the e-tailer's sprawling empire, and that also seems to be Parviz's focus.
Amazon employs data, not just to drive down prices or improve its distribution, but also to solve consumers' problems. It's the premise behind the e-commerce giant's Prime program and corollary efforts like Prime pantry: Algorithms based on search and buying patterns help consumers find what they need or want, and the goods are delivered swiftly, sometimes that day, and sometimes for free. That could position Amazon well to deal with some of the major pain points both in healthcare and in an aging population more generally.