Looking at the total MAUs (monthly active users) of the top 50 apps in the health & fitness category over the last two years (December 2017 to December 2019), the growth rate from December 2017 to December 2018 was 13.7%, while the growth rate from December 2018 to December 2019 was a rapid 48.3% increase. The growth rate from December 2018 to December 2019 was a rapid 48.3% increase, indicating that users and the market are becoming increasingly interested.
If we check the MAU trends of each of the apps in the ranking, we can see that the number of users is steadily increasing for all of them, not driven by a few popular apps, and the market as a whole has been growing.
In the November 2017 ranking, many apps for women and dieting were relatively ranked in, but in the 2019 ranking, health-related apps such as pedometers and sleep had become popular. This may be due to the fact that more people are turning their attention to self-management as they have become more health conscious in recent years. There is no significant change in the gender ratio of the top apps, and the number of users is steadily increasing for both men and women.
FiNC has been the most popular app in health/fitness category in Japan. It offers all the fitness related functions and also offers some of the unique services such as diet advises by nutritionists and chefs as well as professional trainers so users can see suggested recipes customized just for them based on the data on their apps.
Google Fit and S Health is the another popular app, which allows users to measure and record the load of exercise such as cycling and jogging, seem to be popular mainly among the younger generation and men in their 30s.
The pedometer, which is popular among users in their 50s and above, automatically records the number of steps taken and provides a graph showing calories burned, walking time and distance. It does not require complicated operations and has a UI that is easy to use for people of all ages who are not highly literate in smartphone applications.
Calm, world leading app based in San Francisco for a meditation, has launched services in Japan last year and has been brought an attention. Couple new start-ups based in Japan have launched similar services to compete with overseas app. Meditation and mindfulness market is still considered as an early stage in Japan, thus, regardless of the size of the company providing the apps, it is more important how the app is user-friendly and be able to help users adapt meditations as their new daily habit.
With the start of commercial use of 5G, taking in smartphone apps in our daily lives has become more handy and helpful.
Combination of the facts of pandemic and start of the commercial use of 5G, with this as a starting point, the health and fitness market will become even more IoT-oriented, and based on the figures we have seen so far, we can expect it to grow steadily in the future.
Of course, the changes that will occur with the commercial use of 5G are not limited to health and fitness apps, and it is easy to imagine that major movements will occur in the app market as a whole. More companies will focus corporate efforts and invest on apps area thus it will become increasingly competitive area. Users’ expectations are getting higher on which apps to download and use regularly.