Mobile Fitness Apps See Huge Growth

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Over the past six months, daily usage of health and fitness apps has grown by 62%, a growth rate that is 87% faster than the mobile apps industry as a whole. That is partly due to the introduction by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) of its HealthKit, to tighter integration with social networks like Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) and to the rise of new segment of mobile consumers who are committed to staying healthy and fit.

Mobile research firm Flurry has analyzed usage data for more than 6,800 health and fitness iOS applications in a sample of 10,000 devices. The firm looked at time spent by the average mobile consumer with health or fitness apps and then analyzed a group that spent more than three times that average amount of time in health and fitness apps. Flurry labeled this group the Fitness Fanatics.

Women account for 62% of the Fanatics, while comprising just 48% of all mobile consumers. By age, the Fanatics tend to be older, with the 35- to 54-year-old group accounting for 47% more usage of fitness apps than the group’s percentage of all mobile app consumers. The 25- to 34-year-old group over-indexes by 41%.

Consumers aged 18 to 24 under-index by 57%, while the youngest group surveyed, 13- to 17-year-olds, under-index by 28% and consumers older than 55 under-index by 8%.

And while many of us think of sports fans and couch potatoes as overlapping, Flurry found that sports fan over-index by a whopping 80% compared with an average mobile user. Gamers and social networkers under-index by 13% and 30%, respectively.

Flurry concludes, “By looking at all three charts, we have a pretty good picture of Fitness Fanatics. They are predominantly mothers age 25 to 54 who are sports fans and lead healthy lifestyles.” The firm cites a venture capital firm executive who believes that by 2017 some 30% of U.S. consumers will be wearing a mobile device “to track food, exercise, heart rate and other critical vital signs.” The Fanatics, already heavy users of health and fitness apps, are expected to be early adopters of wearable devices such as watches and wristbands from Apple, Samsung and others.

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