With the new year comes new year's resolutions. Wellness is at the forefront of most resolutions, with hundreds of “wellness” apps flooding the app store. Whether you’d like to better your mind, body or soul, wellness apps have a solid spot at the top of download charts for January that carry into February and beyond as people continue to achieve their new years’ goals. These apps remain popular during the first few months of the year because they make our lives easier and ensure that goal achievement is easier to track and attain.
Media outlets are meeting this market need by publishing their top 5, 10, or 20 app recommendations to help you with your resolutions – mostly categorizing apps that help you take better care of yourself. But with so much competition, it's a challenge to get users’ attention to win this new year's race.
As we continue into 2022, capitalizing on this seasonal fitness app trend may present challenges, yet achieving your growth goals is very much attainable. A well timed wellness app promotion strategy in the first few months of the year is ideal to promote your app, attract new customers, and re-engage lapsed users from last year. Beyond the fitness and mental health boom seen during the pandemic, wellness as an overall category has remained top-of-mind as people try to maintain a healthy balance in their lives.
We sat down with some of the top wellness apps in Europe to break down how pandemic and seasonal growth trends affect these apps and how they can keep users engaged as well as grow their audience.
Fitness Apps 🏃♂️
Downloads of health and fitness apps grew by 46% worldwide during the pandemic. With gyms shutting down and everyone taking to their homes for safety, the world turned to screens to guide them through workouts. This trend has continued upward with the global fitness app market size expected to reach 18.08 billion USD by 2028.
Even with the world opening up again and the shock of the pandemic wearing off, these apps still see drastic growth in the first months of the year. Whether it’s holiday guilt or renewed dedication to meeting new year’s resolutions - users flock to fitness apps to help them meet their goals. The key to meet fitness app trends is to retain these users gained in the post-holiday months.
Fitness app trends: How to better retain users
Competition in the fitness industry is as fierce as it’s ever been. Gyms are developing their own apps and new at-home workout companies are popping up left and right. It is integral to focus on keeping your existing users and target those who have already downloaded your app to hone in on retention.
To keep up with the current fitness app trends, try to keep users engaged by helping them create attainable and measurable fitness goals through the app. Offer personalized workout experiences that help individuals succeed and track their progress. Optimize your retargeting strategy in the early months of the year by segmenting recent users and serving them ads about keeping their new years goals! 💪
Mental Health Apps 🧘
Fitness apps weren’t the only wellness apps to see a trending spike in 2020. Within the first few months of the pandemic, mental health apps saw a huge rise in popularity. In 2020 there was a 25% increase in downloads of meditation, therapy and other apps dedicated to mental wellness. It seems as though mental wellbeing apps were a safety net in the uncertainty of the pandemic.
“The pandemic has helped people speak more openly about mental health, and doing so in contexts beyond their private lives,” says Pilar Cardenas, Chief Growth Officer at Meditopia, one of the world’s leading global mental health platforms. “...we are trying to provide answers and solutions by, for example, partnering with companies (Meditopia for Business) to support their workforce in their mental health.”
This spike in mental health app downloads is also evident within the first few months of the year. “January is always the biggest month of the year for us. There is a large peak of new users and also an increase of premium users,” says Petit Bambou,a meditation and wellness app co-founder, Ludovic Dujardin. It’s clear the next step is to retain this spike of users by launching a highly tailored retargeting strategy to keep these users engaged, active, and continue towards their own personal goal path.
The market for mental health apps has increased dramatically and with it, so has the competition. This presents both a challenge and an opportunity for these companies. Companies like Petit Bambou and Meditopia need to work harder to stand out and stay innovative in an ever-changing industry. As the use of mental health apps becomes a “new normal” opportunities will increase inline with the overall increase in demand.
Mental health app trends: Starting the year off strong
Meditation has become a widespread daily habit. The pandemic added more stress and uncertainty to people’s lives, catalyzing a greater need for mental health support. Because of this ongoing trend, the global mindfulness meditation market size is expected to reach 4,206.1 million USD by 2027 and more than 2,500 meditation mobile apps have been launched since 2015.
With the growing need for meditation and mental health apps from consumers, and increased competition in the app store, it's more difficult for these apps to get noticed. This makes gaining new users a lot more difficult than it was back in 2019, pointing further to the benefits of keeping existing users rather than obtaining new ones.
Trying new, personalized messaging is important to generate user interest, especially in the new year. Develop customized solutions tailored to users’ needs at specific times within the app journey. Use sensitive, empathetic wording such as, “Put yourself first in the new year, dive into one of our meditations 🧘.”
“The beginning of the year marks a moment for all of us to start new things and people want to take action and feel better.” Adrian Sarasa, Head of User Acquisition at Meditopia shares. “We adjust our messaging to what we see resonates the most in the countries we operate as well as through internal data. We also leverage specific promotions to try to enjoy the synergies of the new year vibes.”
You could also try offering a free month of meditation sessions to those who haven’t purchased a premium subscription to the app in order to gain higher lifetime value users!
Nutrition Apps 🥗
The pandemic spurred growth for many wellness apps. Being stuck at home with no end in sight drew people to focus on what they could control – their wellness. However, not all apps saw the same amount of growth during this uncertain time.
“The spike is mainly for fitness apps – for nutrition apps, it’s very different since it’s already a lot of restrictions.” says CEO Patrick Hammer at BodyFast, a nutrition app that specializes in intermittent fasting. The restrictions set in place by the government during lockdown made setting restrictions on diets unappealing. However, the early months of this new year have quite the opposite effect.
Forty-four percent of adults surveyed by IFIC said they planned to make a food or beverage-related resolution in 2022 — a staggering three times more than the 15% who planned to last year. Now that the chaos of the early pandemic has worn off, people are settling back into their normal rhythms and are more inclined to prioritize their nutrition as well as their mental health.
What does this mean for nutrition apps? There are more opportunities to gain users!
Nutrition app trends: Encouraging user growth
With the popularity of nutrition apps on the rise, now is the time to hone in on user acquisition. BodyFast, for example, is putting aside a large portion of their budget to focus on user acquisition initiatives. They are adding features to better the user journey such as helpful reminder notifications and in-app recipes.
Another way to keep these users is by offering a subscription that helps people meet their goals and stay accountable. Try encouraging messaging, letting users know that being healthy doesn’t mean cutting out all the things you love to eat!
Takeaways on Wellness & Fitness App Trends
Beyond the the increasing trend of fitness and mental health boom seen during the pandemic, wellness as an overall category has remained top-of-mind as people try to maintain a healthy balance in their lives – especially during the first few months of the new year. A well timed app promotion strategy is ideal to promote your app, attract new customers, and re-engage lapsed users from last year.
- Fitness Apps - Hone in on those existing users! Try to keep users engaged by helping them create attainable and measurable fitness goals through the app. Optimize your retargeting strategy in the early months of the year by segmenting recent users and serving them ads about keeping their new year’s goals! 💪
- Mental Health Apps - With the growing demand for meditation and mental health apps from consumers, there is room in the market for more applications to blossom. Keeping users is more important than ever! Try offering a free month of meditation sessions to those who haven’t purchased a premium subscription to the app.
- Nutrition Apps - With the popularity of nutrition apps on the rise, now is the time to hone in on user acquisition. Try encouraging messaging! Let users know that being healthy doesn’t mean cutting out all the things that you love to eat!
Want to level up and increase retention on your wellness apps?! Our growth experts would love to hear from you!