According to a new IHS Electronics and Media report, sports and fitness mobile app installations are expected to grow to 248 million in 2017, a 60% increase from 2012. Assuming this growth occurs, there will be a number of important consequences. Here are a few:
Fitness Device and Accessory Market Growth: Some fitness apps require or can be enhanced by the use of a physical device or accessory. As app installations increase, so will the demand for devices that facilitate or complement the app use. A few leaders such as Fitbit or Jawbone have emerged, but a laundry list of competitors will enter the expanding market.
Massive Opportunity for Corporate Wellness Companies: Mobile corporate wellness programs will see significant growth. App technology improvements, increasing smartphone adoption, and growth of fitness app downloads will create the perfect storm for mobile wellness companies. Consumer adoption will lead to enterprise adoption. Corporate wellness programs that were once capital intensive and relied on bricks and mortar resources will leverage mobile technology to provide wellness to employees at a fraction of the cost.
Difficulty Navigating the App Market: High download growth will incentivize development of more apps. A greater volume of sports and fitness apps means a greater number of quality apps, but also a larger number of duds. It will become increasingly challenging for users to navigate the app market and find the best apps. A few organizations have emerged to provide a stamp of approval for clinical apps, but fitness apps do not benefit from a similar certification process. Two groups will help curate the non-clinical health and wellness app market. Technology, health, and wellness media outlets will aid the consumer market and wellness companies will help the enterprise market navigate the abundance of mobile apps.
Fewer Excuses: I say this with some hesitation, but hopefully, there will be fewer excuses for not engaging in healthy activity. Mobile app technology will make being health easier, cheaper, and more accessible.