In 2020, health and fitness apps performed exceptionally well as people shifted from traditional gyms to digital fitness solutions. In fact, Adjust, a mobile marketing analytics platform, reported that installs boomed by 67% in March 2020, followed by a sessions boost of 48% in May.
But despite gyms and fitness studios worldwide slowly re-opening, the health and fitness vertical is continuing to grow in 2021. New Adjust data shows that while installs dropped by 24% YoY in H1, sessions climbed 31% YoY, suggesting that users are sticking with apps since adapting to taking care of their mental and physical health from home.
Home workouts: The new normal
Health and fitness app installs spiked in early January again this year, after the New Year celebrations, with installs increasing 10% YoY, according to Adjust’s data. This suggests that many people are choosing to start their fitness journey on mobile instead of paying gym membership fees. Sessions, however, skyrocketed 57% YoY in January, indicating that users who already had their favorite fitness apps downloaded increased the intensity and length of their workout routines.
Adjust data finds that Sundays remain app users’ favorite day to workout, logging the most sessions per week. Fridays still log the lowest number of sessions, showing that users prefer to wind down by the end of the week and focus on their weekend plans. Interestingly, as of H1 2021 the first week of March was the best-performing week in terms of global sessions, which were 9.1% above the H1 average.
Future of the Health and Wellness Market
Adjust data indicates that apps have been able to retain the users they acquired in 2020’s peak. Even established brick-and-mortar gyms were driven to produce their own apps. According to App Annie’s State of Mobile 2021 Report, approximately 71,000 health and fitness apps were released globally in 2020. (24,000 in the Apple App Store and 47,000 in the Google Play Store).
“Although installs are not as impressive as last year, sessions are trending upward, suggesting that users are sticking with apps since adapting to taking care of their mental and physical health from home,” said April Tayson, Regional VP, INSEA, Adjust. “The growth is expected to continue, but the key challenge for apps is to gain the competitive edge and acquire more high-LTV users.”
With a plethora and diverse range of health and fitness apps available, developers need to offer more than just workouts and routines to stand out, such as providing more support around improving overall wellbeing. As the demand for wellness apps grew significantly in the past year, app developers created new products focused on a holistic approach to health — from integrating equipment and wearable devices, to making it easier to accurately track and better everything from sleeping patterns, physical activity, nutrition to mindfulness and meditation.
For example, Meditopia, a mindfulness and meditation app, managed to build a successful business and stayed relevant during the pandemic by innovating its product until it found the right fit within an evolving market. They did this by taking a big-picture approach and personalizing the app experience.
“We connect all the dots around overall wellness while customizing the experience for each individual,” said Berk Yilmaz, Chief Growth Officer at Meditopia. “We do this not only by making it easier for people to converge data from their multiple devices, but by offering features and content that are specifically designed for that individual based on the data from those devices.”