The key to success in India’s mobile health and fitness landscape
Mobile health, also referred to as mHealth, encompasses health services provided through mobile devices. While mHealth refers to all mobile devices that have the ability to transmit data, increasingly widespread ownership of smartphones has made mobile the most popular platform for mHealth delivery.
The health and fitness vertical has undergone a fundamental shift as a result of the outbreak of COVID-19 globally. However, India in particular has seen significant growth in this vertical over the past two years. As an increasing number of mobile app developers pursue this attractive opportunity in the Indian market, it’s more important than ever to plan strategically to establish a strong foundation for your app’s future success.
Let’s take a look at what’s led up to this point, and what’s to come next.
The global pandemic shakes up the health and fitness vertical
The health industry was among the top three fields to grow in prevalence globally on mobile devices as part of rapid digital growth during the COVID-19 pandemic. A spotlight was shone on personal health and hygiene, shifting people’s attitudes (and priorities) towards these topics. A combination of overwhelmed medical sites, lockdowns, social distancing, and quarantines led to the rapid adoption of mobile health technologies.
At-home remote monitoring, mobile patient data, virtual programs for chronic conditions, video consultations, and e-prescriptions were delivered to the masses in the palm of their hands. In 2021, the health and fitness vertical was among India’s top five fastest-growing mobile app categories by volume of installs. At the start of 2020, 3.5 million households were tapping into ePharmacy technologies. By May 2020, this number had grown to 9 million households.
Between Q1 and Q2 2020, health and fitness app downloads in India grew an astounding 156% QoQ – The highest in the world. Between 2020 and 2021, health app downloads increased 38% year-on-year (YoY) in India, reaching 76 million downloads. Even mental health apps saw a marked incline. Meditation app Calm surpassed 100 million downloads globally in 2021. This evolution in health, fitness, and wellness technology has established a bar for patient convenience that has remodeled the health industry as we once knew it. Developing a strategic direction was more imperative than ever for app developers in the health and fitness vertical.
Health apps continue growing into 2022
Popular mHealth apps like 1mg, Better Me, Calm, PharmEasy, Healthkart, Practo, HealthifyMe, and MediBuddy paved the way for more traditional brick-and-mortar businesses, as well as new and emerging health-focused companies, to join the mHealth space in India. In 2022, there are now over 670 health apps available on the Google Play Store in India, and this number continues to grow.
The wearables market grew 66% YoY between 2021 and 2022. Fitness trackers’ growing popularity had a marked impact on the performance of the health and fitness vertical. For example, virtual workout app cuilt.fit became a unicorn after raising $145 million from Zomato, and went on to acquire an impressive 14 organizations. Weight loss app HealthifyMe, one of the top apps in India’s health and fitness category, experienced a whirlwind 90% increase in engagement in just 6 months.
During this period of breakneck growth, the health sector was one of the most active in terms of merger, acquisition, and investment deals in India:
- August 2020: Reliance Retail acquired a 60% equity stake in ePharmacy startup Netmeds.
- June 2021: Tata Digital acquired online pharmacy 1mg, and India’s first unicorn in the medical space, PharmEasy acquired a 66% stake in Thyrocare Tech.
- August 2021: Healthcare platform Onsurity raised $16 million in funding.
- November 2021: Walmart backed e-commerce giant Flipkart in acquiring a 75% stake in online pharmacy marketplace SastaSundar.
Now, the popularity of health, fitness, and wellness apps in India is being further promoted by a rising prevalence of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.). Combined with expanding urbanization, access to online healthcare information, and economic growth, demand for high-quality healthcare is at an all-time high. In H1 2022, health app downloads had reached 48 million downloads, a 23% YoY growth.
The key to future success in the health and fitness vertical
India’s healthcare app market is expected to reach a value of ₹337.89 billion (4 billion USD) by 2026. By 2025, 70 million households are expected to have adopted ePharmacy technology alone. It’s evident that the mHealth boom has generated a strong opportunity for mobile app developers in the health and fitness vertical. But how can app developers and marketers continue to succeed among the increasing competition?
To keep your health app performing in India’s highly competitive market, you’ll need reliable analytics. This is where a mobile measurement partner (MMP) like Adjust comes in. An MMP is essential in finding the most effective marketing strategies for your app, building brand awareness, and scaling user acquisition (UA) while improving your return on investment (ROI).
The need for attribution
Acronyms aside, what does this actually look like? Mobile app attribution is needed to objectively determine the amount of money spent on advertising to achieve the number of conversions gained. With the critical, unbiased insights attribution data provides, app developers and marketers can change and improve almost every aspect of their app, ad creatives, and ad spend distribution.
An MMP’s critical value
MMPs are essential in getting the reliable attribution data you need to make valuable optimizations. Engagement and retention are notoriously difficult for health apps. An MMP provides customer lifetime value (LTV) data that helps app developers assess performance and make appropriate swift, strategic changes to improve their app and campaigns.
It’s impossible to get completely objective data from the place that bought or sold you an ad. An MMP provides unbiased data. At Adjust, we take this one step further with Datascape, where we combine unbiased results from your campaigns across platforms in one streamlined dashboard. This helps you get actionable insights fast!
We make sure that all installs are measured correctly and consistently, providing accurate, transparent data. Speaking of transparency, in a mobile landscape hyper-focused on data privacy, we help you manage and leverage user-level and aggregated data, and help you keep your data safe and compliant.
More data means better personalization
At Adjust, we also provide a solution for detailed audience segmentation. In a vertical that is particularly personal, personalization is fundamental. Provide users with tailored information and custom recommendations, and create a dialogue with the user to help them feel supported on their health journey.
It’s clear that mHealth is much more than a passing pandemic trend. Mobile devices have now become an integral part of the health and fitness customer lifecycle. The Indian market has successfully navigated the health industry segueing into the mobile space at a breakneck speed.
Now, we can expect to continue a (better paced) march toward an expanded breadth of mHealth devices, trends, and applications as consumers demand more accessibility and transparency in health care.