The company says use of health and fitness apps on its platform, based on average daily usage, increased 62% over the last six months. That compares to 33% growth in usage for the app industry overall. This surge in 2014 comes after a year in which health apps lagged the field, growing at a 49% rate versus 115% for apps generally.
What’s behind the uptick? For one thing, the Flurry report points a rise in wellness and wellness accessories sold by Apple that come with companion apps for daily use. Health apps increasingly are also tied into Facebook or other social networks, which boosts viral distribution. But most of the growth is coming from a consumer segment Flurry calls “Fitness Fanatics.”
These are people who spent more than three times the average amount of time in health and fitness apps, based on an analysis of 6,800 apps in a sample of 100,000 devices. This group skewed heavily female, with 62% women and 38% men. That compares to a 48%/52% split for average mobile users.
Adding in other demographic data, Fitness Fanatics are most likely overall to be mothers aged 25 to 54 who are sports fans that lead healthy lifestyles. Because of their heavy app use, Flurry suggests these users are likely to be early adopters of wearable devices like smart watches and fitness bands.
The firm expects usage of health apps to continue growing in the second half of the year, when it normally spikes anyway during the summer and holidays. The launch of Apple’s HealthKit platform (and Health app) and Samsung’s rival SAMI offering could also lead to greater use of health apps by making it easier for users to track health data from a central hub.