Do You Trust Your Fitness Apps More Than Your Doctor?

Mobile fitness app growth was about 52% in 2015, and in 2016, some surveys indicated consumers were trusting health and fitness apps more than their doctors. You could argue that the growth in the fitness app market is coming from millennials, and that’s probably true, although there’s been a fitness app revolution among Baby Boomers as well. In fact, Under Armour noted in 2016 that they were adding about 1 million new app users every eight days. Some have estimated there might be over 1B fitness app users by 2020, or roughly the current user base of Facebook.


A little help doesn't hurt when it comes to fitness.


Who’s doing fitness apps well?


Fitness apps are one of the fastest-growing categories on both Apple and Android devices, so there’s a lot to choose from. (Probably somewhere north of 165,000.) Of those, the big names are obvious: Nike+ Run Club, FitBit, MyFitnessPal, RunKeeper, etc.

A few others to consider:



Their branding is “inspiring people to lead healthier lives,” and they do a very solid job at that. You connect with a digital personal trainer who tailors your workouts based on activity level, and you can change the workout intensity midway through. There’s also a comprehensive library of video guides to make sure you’re doing the workout the right way.



7 Minute Workout App.

This is from Johnson and Johnson. It’s completely science-based, and 72 exercises + 22 workouts can be combined in 1,000+ variations of the seven-minute workout. Seeing as how most of us live in a “busy busy busy” word, this is tremendous, if relatively basic, marketing. Who doesn’t have 7 minutes to improve themselves?


7 Minute Workout.png 



This basically turns any bike into a “smart bike” and gives you access to charts, graphs, maps, etc. It’s all done simply from your smartphone. If you live in an outdoor-friendly area or one with some bike trails, this is one of the simplest yet most powerful mobile fitness apps you can grab.



Mobile Fitness App Trends



This is a major concern for users. In short, people don’t want their health/workout data being used as a way for big companies to market to them (or even worse applications of their data). Look above at the “north of 165,000” fitness apps stat. That number is growing daily. One way that a new fitness app could grab a bigger market share is through transparency around data, information, and privacy. Be clear with users: how is your data being used? How is privacy secured? What is the end game?


Machine learning.

This is a trend in virtually every facet of business, but consider this: Bitesnap, for example, is now using pics of food + machine learning to determine how healthy something is. While in most cases, people get that a salad is probably a better play than a cheeseburger in a given “trying to lose weight and work out more” situation, the word “salad” doesn’t guarantee that it’s healthier than a Big Mac -- and if it’s right there, on a fitness app on your phone, you might be nudged even further.


Customized apps for specific conditions.

For example, there’s been increases in pregnancy fitness apps, diabetes fitness apps, cholesterol fitness apps, etc. It’s essentially brands creating a series of mobile fitness app verticals to better customize the in-app content for a specific subset of users (i.e. pregnant women who still want to exercise).



Where to next?

Mobile fitness app adoption doubled since 2014 overall. With that type of growth and the available potential revenue pie, more companies will flood the zone, more apps will be created, and you’ll see increasing customization (by condition or via user data), machine learning/AI, effective dashboards, and the like. Fitness apps are only going to grow and become a bigger part of the mobile ecosystem for the next half-decade and beyond.


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