Health and Healthcare Systems

Fitness apps grew by nearly 50% during the first half of 2020, study finds

Personal trainer A.J. Draven holds a free gym class via Zoom from his garage during the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Valley Village, California, U.S., April 10, 2020. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni - RC2Z1G9LDDQZ

Lockdown also inspired people to improve their home gyms and invest in home fitness equipment. Image: REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Carmen Ang
Writer, Visual Capitalist
Share:
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Health and Healthcare Systems?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how COVID-19 is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

COVID-19

  • During lockdown, gyms and fitness studios were forced to close or go digital.
  • Downloads of health and fitness apps grew by 46% worldwide.
  • India saw the highest increase in downloads - rising by 156%.
COVID-19 Future of Health and Healthcare Retail, Consumer Goods and Lifestyle Emerging Technologies
The growth of home fitness apps. Image: Visual Capitalist

The Growth of Home Fitness Apps

Home fitness apps have been shaping our lives—and our glutes—long before COVID-19, but their popularity has truly surged in the last few months.

Which regions are driving this growth? And is home fitness here to stay, or will it fade away when the pandemic is over?

This graphic uses data from MoEngage to highlight the growth in home fitness apps across five different regions, representing 1.5 billion mobile app users. Note that the report uses data from Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store, so China was not included.

Growth, by Number of Downloads

Between Q1 and Q2 2020, health and fitness app downloads grew by 46% worldwide. Here’s a look at the regional breakdown:

COVID-19 Future of Health and Healthcare Retail, Consumer Goods and Lifestyle Emerging Technologies
Growth, by number of downloads. Image: Visual Capitalist

India saw the highest increase in downloads, rising by 156%. That translates to 58 million new active users—almost the entire population of Italy.

This makes sense considering that India had the largest lockdown in the world—from March 25 to May 2020, 1.3 billion people were instructed to stay inside. That’s a lot of people who, quite suddenly, found themselves homebound.

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region saw the second highest growth in downloads, at a 55% increase, followed by Asia-Pacific with a 47% increase.

Growth, by Daily Active Users

Along with a surge in downloads, fitness apps also saw a rise in daily active users (DAUs). This is significant because it shows people weren’t just downloading these apps and forgetting about them—they were actually using them.

Globally, DAUs for fitness apps increased by 24% from Q1 to Q2. Here’s a look at the growth in each region:

COVID-19 Future of Health and Healthcare Retail, Consumer Goods and Lifestyle Emerging Technologies
Growth, by faily active users. Image: Visual Capitalist

As with downloads, India saw the largest increase in DAUs with an 84% increase, or 12 million new users. MENA saw the second-highest growth (which also aligns with downloads) at 28%.

In contrast, the Americas saw the smallest increase at just 8%—but this also may be a function of having more users to start with. Despite the lower growth rate than other regions, those who did adopt fitness apps in the Americas seemed to enjoy them, particularly in the United States.

According to a mid-year survey by OnePoll, 74% of Americans used at least one fitness app during quarantine, and 60% enjoyed their home workouts so much, they now plan on canceling their gym membership for good.

Top Grossing Health & Fitness Apps in Q2 2020

Which companies have been capitalizing on this trend? Here’s a look at the top-grossing health and fitness apps in Q2 2020, using data from Sensor Tower:

COVID-19 Future of Health and Healthcare Retail, Consumer Goods and Lifestyle Emerging Technologies
Top Grossing Health & Fitness Apps in Q2 2020. Image: Visual Capitalist

April was focused on mindfulness and meditation more than active workouts. Calm, an app for sleep, meditation, and relaxation, was the highest-grossing app at $8.5 million. Another popular mindfulness app came in second place—Headspace grossed $5.5 million. MyFitnessPal, used for tracking your diet and exercise, ranked third.

In May, meditation remained a primary focus. Calm grossed $7.7 million and kept its top spot as the highest-grossing health and fitness app, while MyFitnessPal ranked second with more than $6.5 million in gross revenue. Strava, an app with built-in GPS that tracks your workouts, came in at third place.

By June, people had shifted their focus to diet tracking and active workouts. MyFitnessPal took first place, grossing $6.7 million. Calm and Headspace came second and third, respectively.

Is Home Fitness Here to Stay?

During lockdown, gyms and fitness studios were left with no other choice than to increase their digital presence. Many started offering virtual classes, allowing members to access services from the comfort of their own homes.

Lockdown also inspired people to improve their home gyms and invest in home fitness equipment. Exercise equipment company Peloton has surged in popularity this year—it’s set to double its sales in 2020, with an estimated $1.8 billion in revenue by the end of the year.

With gyms online and fancy new equipment at home, will people maintain their lockdown workout routines even after the pandemic ends?

Loading...
Loading...
Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Health and Healthcare SystemsEmerging Technologies
Share:
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

Gender and health equity will only come with universal access to eye health – here's why

Dr. Princess Ifeoma Ike

May 24, 2024

About Us

Events

Media

Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum