Editor's note: This story has been updated to specify that the telehealth app downloads ranked in the report do not necessarily reflect the entirety of those companies' businesses.
Consumers worldwide are downloading and spending money in medical apps more than ever, suggests a market behavior analysis released this week by mobile data and analytics company App Annie.
Global downloads of these apps exceeded 400 million in 2018, a 15% increase over the global totals recorded in 2016 and 2017, Lexi Sydow, a senior market insights manager at App Annie, wrote in a post describing the data. Led by apps GoodRx, MyChart and FollowMyHealth, the increase in downloads was observed in mature markets (US, UK and France) and emerging markets (Brazil, India and Indonesia) alike.
Health and fitness apps in particular saw a noticeable boost in recorded consumer spending. According to the firm’s research, worldwide spending in these apps tripled from 2016 to 2018. This growth was led by Chinese (iOS only) and US consumers, both of whom roughly quadrupled their spending.
The data also included new information on how consumers are downloading and using video consultation apps from telehealth providers. Here, Teladoc’s app boasted the top downloads, average monthly users and total overall install base in 2018, followed by Doctor on Demand in each of these metrics.
WHY IT MATTERS
For Sydow, the growing numbers are a sign that consumers are becoming more and more comfortable with apps handling their personal health data.
“As with mobile banking, consumers are showing they trust mobile apps with their most sensitive information and are willing to leverage them to replace tasks traditionally fulfilled in-person, such as going into a bank branch or, in the case of medical apps, to a doctor’s office,” she wrote.
In addition, App Annie's app rankings are a new look at the competition heating up within the telehealth sector (although it's worth noting that the ranking does not include the white-labeled offerings that comprise a major portion of these companies' businesses).
WHAT’S THE TREND
App Annie’s new numbers demonstrate a growth trend on par with the firm’s previous reports, suggesting sustained year-over-year growth for the medical app market. It also falls in line with projections from other research groups suggesting continued growth in the broader mobile health market. Other reports focused on specific subsections have also detailed how these products have changed — for instance, the gradual shift in the digital diabetes sector from standalone apps to those paired with services or devices.