About a third of internet-connected people worldwide currently track their health and fitness via an online or mobile app or a wearable according to a new survey by Gfk, who conducted an online survey of more than 20,000 consumers aged 15 or older across 16 countries.
"These findings demonstrate the attraction that health and fitness monitoring has within much wider groups than just the obvious young sports players," Jan Wassmann, global lead for wearables research at GfK, said in a statement. "Manufacturers and retailers can use these insights, combined with our point-of-sales data on purchases of wearable devices, to understand who are their real-life users and why, and tailor their products to deepen that appeal."
The survey asked only two questions, outside of collecting demographic information: do you track your health with an app or device and, if so, why? They found that, worldwide, 33 percent said they currently track or monitor, 18 percent said they don't, but have in the past, and 45 percent said they had never self-tracked using an app or device (4 percent weren't sure).
For the United States, those numbers trended slightly lower, with just 29 percent saying they currently track and 16 percent saying they used to. But the US was actually one of the leading countries, as the global average was skewed considerably by China, where 45 percent of respondents said they self-track using an app or device. On the other hand, the country least likely to engage in self-tracking was the Netherlands, where only 13 percent replied in the affirmative.
Demographic breakdowns were also interesting. Worldwide, 20-somethings and 30-somethings were the most likely trackers with 39 and 41 percent of those groups, respectively, admitting to tracking. Other age groups, including those younger than 20 and those 40 and up, answered at rates in the neighborhood of 25 percent. Men were slightly more likely to track than women, but the difference there was small -- just two percent.
In terms of reasons, just over half of respondents worldwide said they tracked health and fitness "to maintain or improve my physical condition/fitness" while exactly half said it was "to motivate myself to exercise". Health-related reasons were quite a bit less common: 29 percent of trackers were doing so to lose weight and just 17 percent were doing it to monitor or track a particular health condition.