Health apps, devices generated $718M in 2011

By Brian Dolan
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chart-mHealth-1.2012A new report from Research2Guidance estimates that the total 2011 revenues generated by mobile health apps, companion health devices and related services totaled $718 million, which marked a seven times increase over 2010's $100 million estimate. Still, the research firm said that mHealth is still in its "embryonic state" and it could grow substantially in the years to come. Mobile health revenues will climb into the billions by 2016 when mobile health services and related device sales will each account for a couple billion dollars in revenues.

While the specific dollar amounts were withheld in Research2Guidance's sample documents about the report, some of the trends are clear from the graphs. Revenues from paid downloads, mobile health related advertising revenue, and transactional revenue will grow considerably over the next four years, according to Research2Guidance, but device and services sales will take over as the dominant revenue streams this year, and especially in 2013. They will  hold that trend in the years to follow.

Last year when ABI Research predicted that the overall market for health and fitness apps would total $400 million by 2012, most of those working in the industry sighed a collective groan: That's it? Venture capital firm's Psilos Group's co-founder and Managing Member Lisa Suennen summed it up in a widely cited post on her Venture Valkyrie blog:

"ABI Research, reports that the mHealth market is growing so fast that it will more than triple to $400 million by 2016. If you are an investor like me, and I’m sorry to use such a technical finance expression, that sucks. We are trying to build companies that we can sell for $400 million. If that is the size of the whole market three to four years from now, it’s hard to see it as a good investment today."

ABI's numbers specifically focus on paid app downloads, while Research2Guidance includes service revenues and device revenues, which considerably boost the numbers. ABI seems to agree that these companion devices -- the firm points to Bluetooth Smart-enabled fitness devices as prime examples -- will drive adoption of companion mobile apps. ABI does not seem to include revenues from those devices in the mix, however. As an example of the type of devices it included in its revenue estimates, Research2Guidance points to Sanofi's recently FDA-cleared iBGStar glucose meter.

For more details from Research2Guidance's report, read the press release below.

PRESS RELEASE -- 2011 was the first year of substantial business in the market for mobile health services delivered via smartphone applications.

The smartphone application market for mobile healthcare increased by a factor of 7 to reach $US 718 million in 2011. Nevertheless, the mHealth market is still in an embryonic state. Theoretically the market potential is enormous given the overall worldwide healthcare market size of US$ 6 trillion (WHO estimate) and the potential use cases and benefits for mobile patient healthcare support.

Within the last year, the growth in the mobile healthcare market has greatly accelerated. The main drivers for this growth have been the increase in the smartphone user base on the demand side, and the doubling of the number of mHealth applications on the supply side. These findings are part of research2guidance’s new Mobile Health Market Report 2011-2016.

A majority of the big healthcare companies have discovered mHealth applications as an innovative way to promote and deliver healthcare services and products. A testament to this is that a number of these large players published mHealth apps in 2011 that go far beyond a simple allergy tracker or pill reminder, e.g. Sanofi Aventis’ sensor-based iBGStar Diabetis monitoring app.

For more information on the mHealth application market read our report, “The Mobile Health Market Report, 2011 – 2016.” The report describes in a detailed 100 pages the impact of the smartphone applications on the mHealth industry. It will help decision makers in the healthcare market to understand the current status of the market, learn about best practices and get insights on future trends and market potentials.