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Nearly two-thirds of US consumers are mobile health app users

The data: Nearly two-thirds (63.4%) of US adults have used an app for a health-related purpose in the last 12 months, according to a recent survey from Insider Intelligence.

Comparing two surveys on mobile health app usage: Insider Intelligence’s December 2022 survey of 1,470 US adults and Morning Consult’s January 2023 questionnaire of 2,201 adults revealed similar findings about health apps.

  • Health apps for exercise or fitness ranked as the most common type downloaded by consumers in both surveys.
  • Apps for general wellness, which includes nutrition, weight loss, and sleep, were the next most popular in each survey.
  • Only 1 in 5 respondents in our survey and 1 in 4 in Morning Consult’s research said they’re using mental health apps.
  • Nearly 6 in 10 consumers who use fitness and general wellness apps are doing so daily, per our data. And Morning Consult’s findings showed that half of health app users are on the application either once a day (23%) or multiple times per day (27%).
  • Morning Consult’s data signaled a 6% increase in health app users since late 2018.

We see three drivers explaining the recent growth:

  1. Consumers have more options than ever to choose from. Health app developers rushed to market with new launches in the early days of the pandemic. More than 90,000 health apps—250 per day—were released in 2020 on top app stores worldwide, per 2021 data from IQVIA.
  2. Interest in health apps spiked as in-person physician visits were postponed. 32% of health app users increased usage during the pandemic, while just 13% used them less often, per Morning Consult.
  3. Consumers are seeing results. Fitness and exercise apps ranked highest among consumers (27%) when asked which digital tools have the greatest impact on their physical health, according to 2022 Kantar data shared with Insider Intelligence.

Our take: Consumers are mostly turning to free or low-cost health apps to meet specific goals related to fitness, diet, and weight loss. Mental health apps are also popular, but among a smaller patient pool. With so many options readily available, developers and marketers will need to show consumers how their health app delivers unique value.

This article originally appeared in Insider Intelligence's Digital Health Briefing—a daily recap of top stories reshaping the healthcare industry. Subscribe to have more hard-hitting takeaways delivered to your inbox daily.