Checking the pulse of health & fitness tracker apps in 2023
A recent study revealed that 81% of consumers planned to use fitness apps on their smartphones and wearables in 2023. With global interest in wellness, meditation, fitness tracking, and leveraging apps to stay active and healthy still growing, the fitness app industry is expected to generate over $19.33 billion by the end of 2023 and an impressive $33.04 billion by 2027. The use of smartwatches and fitness wristbands is also on the rise, with a combined revenue of over $63 billion expected by the end of this year.
While health and fitness apps are expected to continue growing, their popularity fluctuates with the seasons. Typically, app usage peaks at the start of each year, driven by New Year's resolutions centering on themes the apps generally address, like exercising more. However, as summer approaches, enthusiasm for fitness apps slowly wanes and eventually reaches its lowest point during the holiday season in November and December.
In this article, we analyze app installs, user sessions, and retention rates for health and fitness tracking apps, including calorie and sleep trackers, to provide marketers with valuable insights into how these apps are affected by seasonality and when to ramp up their marketing efforts.
Health & fitness tracker app installs soar in January 2023
As predicted, January 2023 was the standout month so far this year, with installs 34% higher than the H1 2023 average. As users stuck to their New Year's resolutions leading into the summer season, installs in January skyrocketed by an impressive 36% compared to the previous month. February then saw a slight dip, decreasing by 6%. March bounced back by a small 1%. By April and May, however, installs saw a massive drop of 20% and 44%, respectively.
Despite the seasonal downward trendline, health and fitness tracker app installs have actually seen impressive year-over-year (YoY) growth in 2023. January kicked things off with a 25% YoY boost. February followed with a massive 49% YoY increase. March and April saw more subtle but steady YoY growth, rising by 4% and 14%, respectively. Although the summer months this year have not performed as well as last year, the YoY increase at the start of 2023 suggests that health and fitness app marketers should focus on acquiring and converting users in the first three months of a new year and working on robust retention strategies to keep them engaged during the slower months.
Health & fitness tracker app usage hits an all-time high in March 2023
Health and fitness tracker apps saw a 17% increase in sessions globally in January 2023 compared to December 2022. Sessions grew slightly in February, increasing by another 4%. March was the best-performing month, with a 3% increase in sessions from the previous month and a notable 28% increase from the H1 2023 average. However, the following month saw a steep decline, with a 25% drop in usage compared to March.
Interestingly, when looking at YoY app session growth for each month, only February saw a YoY increase of 3%. The spring and summer months of May, June, and July experienced a significant drop in sessions this year compared to the same months last year. This may be due to the fact that many users still had active app subscriptions last summer from the COVID months when they first signed up.
Health & fitness tracker engagement surges in 2023
Health and fitness tracker retention rates experienced impressive growth in Q1 2023 compared to Q4 2022. Day 1 rate soared from 18% to 23%, while the Day 3 rate surged from 12% to 16%. The Day 7 rate also increased from 10% to 12%. However, Day 14 retention rate only rose by a single percentage point, and the rates for Days 28 and 30 remained the same in both quarters. This presents a significant opportunity for mobile marketers to benefit from users' increased interest. Focus on the user journey in the first two weeks post-install, identify and improve on the churn points, and double down on your highest-LTV driving channels while the volume is high.
Refine your health & fitness app marketing strategy now
While the usage of health and fitness tracker apps may experience seasonal ebbs and flows, there's clear and consistent data that points to them regaining peak popularity with the arrival of the new year. It's wise to jumpstart your marketing strategies now to capitalize on the upcoming surge. Here are some top approaches to acquiring new users, retaining existing ones, and maximizing your ROI.
- Personalization is key: Fitness apps that tailor the user experience to individual goals and fitness levels consistently outperform the competition. Consider incorporating personalized features, like exercise and dietary recommendations, based on user input.
- Push for engagement: Utilize push notifications to nudge users towards completing workouts, celebrate their achievements, and offer motivating words of encouragement. But remember that striking the right balance is crucial to avoid overwhelming your users.
- Socialize your app: If you haven't already, consider integrating social features into your fitness tracker app. Enabling users to connect with friends, participate in challenges, and share their progress on social media can significantly boost engagement and motivation. According to a recent survey, 27% of health and fitness app users downloaded the app to connect more with friends and family.
- Level up with gamification: Enhance user retention by incorporating gamification elements. Reward users with points or badges for hitting workout milestones or achieving fitness goals, turning their fitness journey into an exciting game.
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