The Future of Health and Wellness AppsJune 24, 2022 - 7 minutes read
Nowadays, fitness, wellness and medical apps take up a significant fraction of smartphone users’ home screen real estate thanks to the growing popularity in home health, internet connected devices, and a growing awareness of health and wellness. Data Bridge Market Research predicts a CAGR of 25.8% in the North American fitness app market from 2021 to 2028 with a total market value of $11 million by 2028. As a dedicated iPhone App developer in San Diego, we understand it can be challenging to know what option works best for your organization.
Health, fitness, and wellness apps span a large array of categories often having free and premium subscription-based versions on the platform. More recently, the integration of wearable devices that can monitor vital signs, activity, sleep cycle, metabolism, and other facets of one’s health are driving significant mHealth app growth. The market for wearables is expected to grow by almost 20% from 2021 to 2024. Wearables paired with a seamless app experience create a perfect recipe for a rich, engaging, and valuable mHealth app experience that can lead to better health and fitness habits, improved mental health, and preventative monitoring of specific health conditions.
The 4 key categories of health and wellness apps:
Within the umbrella of health and wellness apps, there are 4 distinct types of platforms to be aware of. Some apps may feature multiple categories, such as the “Health” app native to Apple iOS.
Fitness and healthy living apps
The goal of fitness and healthy living apps is to promote fitness and/or healthy eating habits for individuals. Fitness apps can be used to track a variety of exercises, from weightlifting to cycling, provide exercise reminders, and often pair with a wearable like the Apple Watch or Fitbit to track workout statistics like time, calories burned, and heart rate. Users can engage with their fitness app to set workout goals, track their performance, receive achievement badges, and rank on leaderboards.
Diet and nutrition apps also fall under this category because they allow users to gain nutritional information, become educated about nutrition, and plan out meals to align with their fitness goals. Some fitness tracker apps like MyPlate from Livestrong also include diet and nutrition features to provide a holistic healthy living solution for their users. The highest quality diet and nutrition apps feature a large catalog of food with rich caloric and macronutrient information so users can more easily meet their fitness goals.
Health monitoring apps
Health monitoring apps allow users to track various modalities of their health such as blood pressure, sleep, BMI, fertility, blood glucose, metabolism, smoking and drinking habits, and more. These apps are usually paired with wearable or interactive devices that collect specific data and either automatically feeds it into the app or relies on the user manually typing in information received from the device. These apps can feature advanced algorithms to analyze raw data and provide valuable insights to users in which they can take action or follow up with a medical professional.
Meditation and mental wellness apps
Meditation and mental wellness apps provide users with guided meditation exercises, sleep and relaxation “stories”, relaxation soundscapes, and can teach users to practice mindfulness. These apps have grown in popularity over the past few years owing to the pandemic environment and will continue to capture large market share for the foreseeable future as many individuals recognize the value of mental wellness. Meditation has many benefits to physical health in addition to mental health. Building a meditation or spiritual practice can lead to reduced stress, more restorative sleep, and help beat addictions.
Mobile health, or mHealth apps, strive to bring medical care to a mobile platform by connecting doctors to patients in a variety of ways. Some common features of mHealth apps are securely accessing patient health data (such as blood tests), bill pay services, scheduling, instant messaging, education, and physician or counselor matching. Both physicians and patients can access information through an mHealth platform but the primary use case is for patients to perform common tasks from their mobile device. During the pandemic, mHealth became extremely important to provide a continuous experience by being paired with telehealth.
What’s next for health and wellness apps?
As wearables become more convenient and sophisticated we will continue to see the creation and innovation of health monitoring apps. Paired with a growing popularity in VR and AR, meditation and mental wellness apps will likely become immersive and fitness apps may provide virtual and social workout experiences in the “Metaverse”. As smartphone operating systems become more advanced, third-party app developers can leverage new APIs to enable new features in their health and wellness apps. For example, the ability to take a picture of your meal and instantly generate nutrition info will rely on AI algorithms that can classify objects within images and tie this information to the food database within the app.
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