As worldwide trends emphasizing health and fitness continue, businesses and companies that deliver health-related content and services to consumers are poised to take advantage of a growing market.
According to the "Mobile Devices and mHealth" report by ABI Research, a firm forecasting trends in global connectivity and emerging technologies, the mobile health care application marketplace is expected to grow from $120 million in 2010 to $400 million in 2016. This growth is projected as new technologies and mobile applications emerge. These technologies are expected to enhance the effectiveness of fitness applications by transmitting data between wearable devices and mobile handsets, thereby enhancing the workout experience for users.
Several companies have already taken notice of this emerging market, including the GPS technology company Garmin, which recently launched its "Fit" application for smartphones.
This application automatically links a person's activities and recorded workout history with the Garmin Connect Web portal to keep track of fitness goals.
"As applications increasingly become part of a bundle that ships with wearable devices, revenues from mobile applications will lag behind the growth in app downloads," said Jonathan Collins, principal analyst at ABI Research. "Mobile application downloads will actually grow at nearly twice the rate of revenues between 2010 and 2016, with more than a billion downloads annually by 2016."
Sports and fitness applications will be the driving force behind this increase, but they will be aided by the growth of home monitoring health care and personal emergency response applications that will be utilized by growing numbers of aging users. According to the research, smartphones and applications that run on these devices will challenge existing fitness devices in coming years as more apps become available on smartphones.
"Downloadable apps are moving the sports tracking device market from proprietary devices to mobile phones, but adoption has been limited by the data they can collect," said Collins.
"However, with the connectivity that Bluetooth Smart will embed in mobile handsets, wearable devices will bring greater detail to mobile handsets."