app trends health fitness wellbeing

Health, Fitness & Wellbeing – 2021 App Trends

8 March 2021
Carrier Billing

Health and Fitness Market 2021

App Annie’s State Of Mobile 2021 report confirmed that health and fitness apps performed exceptionally well throughout 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic – not just following the predicted trend of a spike in January, fuelled by New Year’s resolutions after the Christmas period.

India, Germany and Turkey experienced the highest growth in app downloads, while Germany, France and the UK saw the largest spikes in consumer spend.

App Development – A Step Ahead

During 2020, health and fitness app developers found gaps in the market, listening to their customers’ wants, needs and suggested app improvements.

Over 71,000 new health and fitness products (24,000 on IOS and 47,000 on Google Play) were launched, providing new services to solve problems, keep current customers engaged, or attract new audiences.


In 2020, the best performing apps in terms of worldwide downloads included; Home Workout – No Equipment, Mi Fit and Lose Weight App for Women.

This year, with major players such as Peloton branching out from spinning bikes to treadmills, and new trends such as Eye Yoga arriving on the scene, here are some fitness trends to look out for in 2021:

  • Apple launched Fitness+: A workout platform with a goal to make working out at home inclusive and non-intimidating. Including beginner tutorials, sign language, instructors ranging in age from 20-60, and familiar faces such as Jessica Skye. Fitness+ works by effortlessly connecting users’ Apple ecosystems, e.g. using Apple Watch as a remote control. Payment is made via a subscription service, with the option to set up multiple family accounts and split the cost.
  • Apps for being outdoors – In the last year, the number of outside classes being offered by ClassPass has increased by 400%.
  • Bigger and better virtual challenges – as audiences look for new ways to challenge and motivate themselves. 17% of the entire adult population currently use Strava. Amongst Strava’s 73 million users, the UK was the most active country in 2020. 44% of marathons ran on the app were completed during lockdowns, and “more than a million adults took part in May’s 5k challenge”.
  • Online classes and flexible fitness – allowing for smarter workouts, offering heart rate monitors with subscriptions to apps with personalised workouts like FITT.
  • AI coaching ­– such as Freeletics HIIT ‘without the hurt’, considering less stress on body and less noise for neighbours. Remote personal training – seeing yourself on screen can help improve form.
  • Technology and Tracking – with so many apps available, it is more important than ever to consider the ease of tracking across multiple platforms for users – e.g. step count, sleep statistics, Strava distance and Apple movement rings.
  • Exercising globally – with many people unable to travel, BitGymand Zwift offer AI and virtual reality exercise; from yoga in Bali, to cycling in Amsterdam.


Health and fitness apps have evolved to offer more than just physical exercise, as users take a more mindful approach to self-care. Lockdowns across the world have driven demand for apps that improve mental wellbeing (such as Headspace), help users cope with anxiety during isolation, and limit time spent online – not forgetting mHealth and contact tracing due to Coronavirus cases.

  • Calm – Meditation, sleep and relaxation app, with the highest global spend. Partnered with American Express giving cardholders free access as a membership extra.
  • Digital therapy – Has risen to popularity due to ease of accessibility and non-intrusive nature. BetterHelp is a guide to help users find the right therapist for their needs.
  • Time spent on apps is another important factor to consider when measuring success, to indicate value and engagement among users, especially for those that gain revenue outside of the app stores e.g. In the USInsight Timer took the lead for average time spent per user.

Growing Health, Fitness and Wellbeing App Revenue Streams

With so many apps on the market, now, more than ever, it is key to listen to consumers’ preferences and needs to stay ahead of 2021 app trends. As customers turn to mobile to support their daily routines, being discoverable, enhancing user experience (such as allowing statistics to be tracked across multiple platforms) and building extras into apps are all great ways to grow downloads, increase time spent on platforms and encourage customer spend.

Simplifying payments through carrier billing is also a great way to help grow app revenue streams. Carrier billing offers a simple, seamless and secure payment solution for health, fitness and wellbeing apps, giving merchants instant access to new customers globally. Get in touch with SLA Digital today to find out more.

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