Blog COVID-19 lockdowns accelerate growth for health and fitness apps

COVID-19 lockdowns accelerate growth for health and fitness apps

In the wake of COVID-19 lockdowns, apps across almost all verticals have seen a significant increase in installs and sessions. Health and fitness is no exception: As gyms and fitness studios began closing in March, installs skyrocketed with a 67% increase, followed by a 48% increase in sessions in May, according to Adjust data.

Sunday consistently performed as the day of the week with the most sessions, indicating that users are most focused on getting into shape when planning their weeks. In contrast, Fridays saw the lowest number of global sessions every week in 2020, suggesting that weekend plans might outweigh the focus on health and fitness as the week wraps up.

“The pandemic and ensuing lockdowns have led many consumers to re-prioritize their lifestyles and their day to day behaviors,” said Paul H. Müller, co-founder and CTO of Adjust. “Our data suggests that this is widely reflected in the health and fitness habits of consumers and points to a longer-lasting trend of people preferring to WOFH (workout from home) rather than going to the gym -- especially as safety measures remain in place in many countries around the world.”

Temporary fix or the new normal?

It seems that users are sticking to the habit of working out from home, as Adjust’s data recorded a year-on-year increase in sessions of 61% in July, despite many gyms having reopened. This is backed up by the consumer survey findings from Gympass, the world’s largest corporate wellness benefits program. The survey affirms that digital wellness is an enduring trend, revealing that 82.8% of Americans are willing to work out virtually post-pandemic. By quickly adapting to help its users stay active while at home, Gympass introduced digital solutions such as on-demand and live-streamed classes, and virtual personal training sessions to help its customers maintain their physical fitness and mental wellbeing.

“In a matter of weeks, we took programs from PowerPoint to reality,” said Rodrigo Silveira, SVP of New Ventures at Gympass. “We looked at wellness with a more holistic approach to create a complete corporate wellness benefit across all of our plans that can be customized to fit individual needs. In partnership with apps like Healing Clouds, Mobills, 8fit, and Wellness Coach, we were able to create a new adaptable model that is here to stay.”

Adjust’s data shows that although installs and sessions have started to decrease following their respective peaks, sessions are still trending far higher than in 2019. July installs are up 7% compared to 2019, and sessions have increased by 61%.

An industry shake-up

Mobile Marketer weighed in on the shift in people’s exercise habits around the globe.
“Such a longer-lasting shift will have major implications for companies like Apple, which is developing a subscription service for virtual fitness classes… the jump in health and fitness installs reflected moves by companies like Nike, which in March dropped the subscription fee for its NTC Premium service that provides streaming workout videos, training programs and expert tips from trainers.”

App Developer Magazine also reported Adjust’s data, highlighting the impact that COVID-19 lockdowns have had on the industry.

“New data from app marketing platform Adjust shows that in addition to the New Year’s Resolution trend of increased installs in early January, COVID-19 lockdowns drew users to health and fitness apps even more, upending the traditional fading of new years’ resolutions.”

Installs and sessions for Health and Fitness apps grew at an impressive rate when comparing 2019 to 2020. In addition to the yearly trend of January’s New Year’s Resolutions inspired boom, COVID-19 lockdowns resulted in exponential growth. While it remains to be seen how usage patterns will develop as lockdowns lift, it appears that a growing number of users are adapting to working out from home, and growth for health and fitness apps looks set to continue.

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