Recent improvements to technology within the health and fitness industries have resulted in groundbreaking medical advancements, allowed a new breed of athlete to accomplish what was considered to be impossible ten years ago, and improved the daily lives of anyone with access to it. These milestones have also assisted in generating record revenues: the United States’ health and fitness industry was valued at $7 trillion in 2011. Not too surprising considering that 1 in every 3 children in the United States is classified as obese. However, there is a steadily increasing percentage of American’s starting to prioritize their health the same way they stay connected with the world; by using their phones and their associated mobile markets.
In 2010, mobile applications downloads related to the health fitness industry generated a total of $100 million in revenue. Among these applications was “RunKeeper”, a downloadable application that allows a user to view their running/jogging route, distance, heart rate (with monitor attachment), and other performance gauges, while it’s activated during activity. FitnessKeeper, Inc (the company behind Runkeeper), a Boston based company, recently released plans to open up a new Boston headquarters to accommodate their rapidly growing staff. FitnessKeeper is only one in an industry comprised of thousands of small tech start-ups dedicated exclusively to the engineering of applications such as the wildly popular RunKeeper (identified by TIME in 2009 as one of the top ten iphone apps).
Analysts predicted the health and fitness mobile application industry to quadruple in growth from 2010 to 2011. However, what analysts did not project is that in 2011 17% of all smart-phone users would download an application related to health and fitness. When 2011 closed, 44 million applications had been downloaded for a total revenue of $718 million. Mobile revenue for 2012 is projected to grow to $1.3 billion; which is a microscopic fraction of the $7 trillion the health and fitness industry generates every year.
These applications allow mobile users to have valuable, and potentially life-saving, information at their fingertips. One application, called “Cellscope,” allows users to diagnose any surface ailments by simply taking a picture of the affected area and uploading it into the application. The app then diagnosis the injury, informs you of its severity, and provides you with a treatment plan.
The revenue generated from the purchasing of applications, such as RunKeeper and Cellscope, is projected to grow to $1.3 billion in 2012. That figure will only increase in subsequent years as mobile applications become more practical and prevalent in people’s lives. The market growth potential is enormous, and is certainly an industry to keep a close eye on.