Study: Amid sea of disposable apps, health and fitness reigns supreme

in iPhone edited May 2016
Recent data gathered by Yahoo-owned firm Flurry Analytics illustrates a growing interest in health and fitness apps, a category that has skyrocketed in popularity over the past months to become some of the most used digital properties in terms of frequency and duration.

According to Flurry data, health and fitness titles enjoy the highest loyalty rates of any iOS app category. Perhaps driven by Apple Watch, about 35 percent of iPhone users who download a health tracking app retain the software after a period of 30 days, using it just under three times a week on average. The same is true for Android, which boasts a whopping 49 percent retention rate and usage frequency of over three times each week.

It's not hard to see why. Apple has made health a priority, and we can see that with HealthKit, ResearchKit, and more recently CareKit, which is a way for iPhone users to have a more active role in their health. These apps are taking center stage in the App Store, even showing up in this week's Featured Apps list.

The data dovetails with a report last week claiming Apple Watch was created first and foremost as a health quantification tool. Late Apple CEO Steve Jobs is said to have tasked his company with fixing a chaotic healthcare system by making it easier for patients and healthcare providers to gather, track, share and analyze health data. Executives came up with Watch.

Flurry compared its statistics, aggregated in March from a sampling of more than 830,000 apps across iOS and Android, with an identical study performed in 2012. The firm found users are more willing than ever to take new apps for a test drive, meaning churn rates are on the rise. Breaking iOS data down by category finds weather to be among the most "sticky" apps, and with a loyalty rate of 28 percent the category is only bested by health and fitness. News and magazine apps both saw a 26 percent user retention rate.

At the other end of the spectrum are gaming apps. Users might pick up a game and play it a lot at first, but overall retention rates are poor. Depending on the type of game, retention rates range from 8 percent to 20 percent for iOS and 5 percent to 15 percent on Android.


  • Reply 1 of 2
    irelandireland Posts: 17,798member
    Yes because health and fitness apps serve a purpose we can all relate to. Just like if Apple Watch did non-invasive blood sugar reading one could understand if most diabetics wanted one (~430M people have the condition).

    And then if it could measure skin hydration and extrapolate when a person needed a glass of water (250 ml) and alert via push notification that'd be quite cool and would also sell watches.

    I.E. Every time the watch serves a need for people it will become more desirable
    edited May 2016 bobschlob
  • Reply 2 of 2
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    I would think that most of those health apps are used in conjunction with hardware, like smart watches, or fitness bands, so I'm not surprised that those types of apps have a high retention rate, because most people aren't going to throw their hardware and accessories in the trash after 30 days and stop using the software.

    I don't have an Apple Watch yet, but we'll see what happens when the new models come out and what it has to offer. Until then, my $20 Chinese fitness band will have to do, and it actually does some things that the Apple Watch can not do. It tracks my sleep, I wear it 24-7-365, and I only have to charge it about once every 6 weeks. 

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