Sharp Brains Brain Fitness Market Report – 2009

Below I have reproduced from its highlights of its 2009 Brain Fitness Market report.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect for me to note as a provider of an affordable brain training product are the statistics of satisfaction and value for money:

These are the stats for the question, “I got real value for money” – 65% Agree

Puzzle Books – 60% Agree

Posit Science – 52% Agree

Nintendo – 51% Agree

And for “I have seen the results I wanted”

Posit Science – 53% Agree – 51% Agree

Puzzle Books – 39% Agree

Nintendo  – 38% Agree

Here are the highlights in full…

Top Highlights from The State of the Brain Fitness Software Market 2009 Report

1) Growth market: Consumers, seniors’ communities and insurance providers drove year on year sustained growth, from $225m in 2007 to $265m in 2008. Revenues may reach between $1 billion to $5 billion by 2015, depending on how important problems (Public Awareness, Navigating Claims, Research, Health Culture, Lack of Assessment) are addressed.

2) Increased interest and confusion: 61% of respondents Strongly Agree with the statement “Addressing cognitive and brain health should be a healthcare priority.” But, 65% Agree/Strongly Agree “I don’t really know what to expect from products making brain claims.”

3) Investment in R&D seeds future growth: Landmark investments by insurance providers and government-funded research institutes testing new brain fitness applications planted new seeds for future growth.

4) Becoming standard in residential facilities: Over 700 residential facilities – mostly Independent and Assisted Living facilities and CCRCs – have installed computerized cognitive training programs.

5) Customer satisfaction: Consumers seem more satisfied with computer-based products than paper-based options. But, satisfaction differs by product. When asked “I got real value for my money”, results were as follows: (65% Agree), Puzzle Books (60%), Posit Science (52%), Nintendo (51%) agreed. Posit Science (53% Agree) and (51%) do better than Puzzle Books (39%) and Nintendo (38%) at “I have seen the results I wanted.”

6) Assessments: Increasing adoption of computer-based cognitive assessments to baseline and track cognitive functions over time in military, sports, and clinical contexts. The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America now advocates for widespread cognitive screenings after 65-75.

7) Specific computerized cognitive training and videogames have been shown to improve brain functions, but the key questions are, “Which ones”, and “Who needs what when?”

8) Aggressive marketing claims are creating confusion and skepticism, resulting in a distracting controversy between two misleading extremes: (a) “buying product XYZ can rejuvenate your brain Y years” or (b) “those products don’t work; just do one more crossword puzzle.” The upcoming book The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness aims to help consumers navigate these claims.

9) Developers can be classified into four groups, based on our Market and Research Momentum analysis: we find 4 Leaders, 8 High Potentials, 3 Crosswords 2.0, and 6 Wait & See companies.

10) Increased differentiation: Leading companies are better defining their value proposition and distribution channels to reach specific segments such as retirement communities, schools, or healthcare providers.

Related links:

Lumosity Review

Cogmed Review

Posit Science Review

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6 Responses to “Sharp Brains Brain Fitness Market Report – 2009”

  1. Shaun Luttin says:

    My answers in regards to BFPro.

    I got real value for my money. STRONGLY AGREE. Over fifty-hours of satisfying training for less than $50.00. That’s value.

    I have seen the results I wanted. STRONGLY AGREE. I started at n=2 with great confusion, and I am currently at n=8 with increased confidence. While the jury is still deliberating about any meaningful increase in my IQ, what I really wanted was a meaningful increase in both my concentration and my digit span (incl. numeric, verbal, aural, and visual). My concentration and digit span were out of shape because of a period of clinical depression. The BFPro training does seem to have improved both my concentration and short-term memory (i.e. digit span). Further, I’m inclined to posit that my general confidence and my general self-control, willpower, or volition have both increased as well. I seem to be better able to accomplish tasks and overcome inertia. It seems to me that BFPro not only trains memory and concentration, but provides a salutary effect on the strength, power, and stamina of my mental muscle. BFPro may have lead to an increased ability for me to willfully exert mental force. Further still, my capacity to remain in the present moments may have improved as well. But for sure, none of these claims are scientific, and are subjective at very best, except of course for my increase from n=2 to n=8, and my increase in my numeric aural digit span from just above average to a span of 11 numeric digits.

    Warm regards,

  2. Will says:

    This is fascinating. I have a great interest in this burgeoning field of brain development and, while skeptical, I’ll pretty much try anything. Recently I signed up for Cognifit and tried their program. I quit and asked for a refund. Why? Not dynamic enough. According to their pre-test, my primary area of weakness was in split attention. The exercise they have for that seemed to have helped me; but posit science has demo’s for free on their site. Being a better multi-tasker is not big concern for me right now. And another task they had was a crossword puzzle. Very static. I can do that off-line. A nice marketing angle they have with “fitting” one’s needs based on a pre-test. I can see the value for seniors but the tasks there were either not challenging enough or too boring or static in areas that I deem not terribly G loaded. I’m not their target market, but I got pulled in because they had an intriguing angle, and, they had the refund option. So I’d recommend it for the 70+ crowd who are new to the brain improvement industry.

    Lumos Labs (Lumosity) isn’t bad; tried them out when I stumbled on this cognitive training stuff. Nice graphics, but not challenging enough after a while. Value for the money? Not sure. I’m not sure of that either, though their scanning exercise has to be good for process speed and I’m thinking of rejoining just to focus on that and the number crunching exercise, expert level, is very mentally taxing for PS and WM.

    As for Brainfitnesspro, yes, I recommend it strongly with a caveat: That is, it’s best for those obsessed with brain improvement AND tracking their improvement over time. For those not interested in tracking but who just want to improve their cognitive abilities, then I’d suggest do dual N-back online elsewhere for free. I bought Brain Fitness Pro having already been sold on the dual n-back at cognitivefun. I much prefer practicing without having to go to a website, but it’s worth noting that I’ve gone over there recently to play and my level is between 6 and 7 back, jumping up from between 4 and 5 back when I last played 5 months ago. So, dual n backs should match, no matter the minor differences between them — German or English vowels, etc.. Is it worth 50 bucks? The answer lies on how you want to track your performance. If you’re anal or you need to be more anal (the latter is the case with me) it means you should probably spring for it, especially with the refund guarantee in place. Also, it’s a nice black background; spoken letters are a bit softer than other versions. Yeah, you ask, but 50 bucks? Up to you. For me, well worth it and the chunks of 19 is very helpful as well, creating a rhythm for practice and completion.

    Imo, dual N-back is the best training out there, bar none. Like Shaun, I haven’t really treated this scientifically, so it’s hard to say that my IQ has done this or that. Erring on the side of caution, I’d say that my processing speed and WM have increased markedly as has that “executive process” that mediates memory storage and incoming stimuli, which is what real life is so heavily loaded on. Also, I did score 187 on the SUS test, which probably would not be at all possible prior to training, although there was some luck involved in attaining a score so high. But it wasn’t solely luck as I was very focused. It’s worth noting, though, 187, is not an IQ score but just a number.

    Side note: Today I reached a new high at 6.25 and now, as I’ve broken through to a higher level, I imagine that my brain will consolidate these gains and I most likely I will start to see new manifestations in actual real life functioning.

  3. martin says:

    Hello Shaun, Will.

    Fascinating insights. I appreciate you both taking the time to post your thoughts.

    As to Will’s helpful comments about the value of Brain Fitness Pro, I should add that we’re committed to upgrading and expanding Brain Fitness Pro beyond the current dual n-back exercise, and that these upgrades will be free to people currently purchasing the software. We already have new exercises and features in development.


  4. Shaun Luttin says:

    Hey there Will:

    I quite admire your comments on the blog, especially because you seem to be quite authentic. Authenticity is something that all my close friends seem to have, and it’s a characteristic that I value strongly in myself. You mention that BFPro is best for those obsessed with training, and perhaps highly analytical (that’s me for sure). It’s authentic of you to mention that BFPro is not for everyone, because that’s your style even if it isn’t in fashion. I too would add that it isn’t for anyone, especially NOT for the faint of heart. BFPro is arduous at the best of times, and a person must be willing to sit through just about anything including self-doubt, discouragement, and the physical pain involved in mustering such a prodigious degree of present moment concentration.

    Martin: I’m fond of your idea of upgrading BFPro with new features. However, could you please maintain the simplicity of the program, because I think the no frills, ascetic graphic user interface, and the paucity of frilly options, really makes BFPro stand out. Sometimes a computer application’s variegated options can be distracting and useless. That said, I would much like to see a working memory test including numeric, alphabetic, aural, and visual. That’s about it. To me the rest would be frills. I like BFPro a la carte.

  5. Shaun Luttin says:

    Mistake: “I too would add that it isn’t for anyone, especially NOT for the faint of heart.”

    Correction: “I too would add that it isn’t for everyone, especially NOT for the faint of heart.”

  6. martin says:

    Hi Shaun.

    Thanks for this sage advice on keeping the program free of unnecessary frills. I will do my best!


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