The market for health and fitness apps may be in its infancy, but it’s growing up fast, concludes a study released this month by marketing and public relations firm Verasoni Worldwide.
The firm collected download data from the top 150 medical apps for iPhone and Android in the U.S. to provide a “snapshot” of the mobile health market.
The point of the study is to give health providers (pharmaceutical companies, physicians and dentists, life sciences companies and hospitals) a sense of the downloading behaviours of the public in relation to mobile health.
The report cites Pew research, which found that 11 percent of adults with cell phones have downloaded a mobile health app. Still, the market remains in its infancy, says the study, and healthcare providers are only beginning to grasp the potential of mobile.
Healthcare professionals are developing niche apps that might one day revolutionize the way healthcare is provided. Mayo Clinic’s iPad app, for example, helps recovering heart surgery patients.
They can access their plan of care and ask questions to their team through the app. The app also sends data to the healthcare team.
The study found that weight loss and exercise apps totaled 60 percent of downloads and were the biggest sellers. The next most popular categories are: Women’s health, sleep and meditation, pregnancy, “tools and instruments,” reference and emergency.
Another key finding was the popularity of tracking devices that let users download, store and measure data. The study offers Nike’s FuelBand as an example, which tracks its users’ daily activities through a bracelet. The data is then transferred to an app that motivates users to accomplish their fitness goals.
The study also compared iPhone and Android downloads. People with iPhones bought seven times more health apps than Android owners. App downloads on iPhones (67 million) outpaced Android (59 million) by more than 8 million downloads.
The most downloaded apps across devices were “Lose It!” and “Calorie Counter & Diet,” with a combined total of 24 million downloads. Next on the list are “Pregnancy Tracker” (2.5 million), “MapMyRUN” (2.4 million) and “Period Tracker Lite” (2.2 million).
For more information, check out the executive summary.