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Health Apps Market Update – Research2Guidance

78,000 new health apps published in 2017 from Research2Guidance

Keeping up with the growing health market is becoming ever more difficult. There were 78,000 new health and medical apps added to the global market in 2017 alone. This was one of the main findings from the latest annual review by Berlin-based consultancy Research2Guidance (R2G), which surveyed more than 2,400 digital health practitioners. These included developers, app owners and managers, coders, project managers, physicians and health start-ups.

The report also revealed that Europe is now home to the largest number of digital health practitioners (47%). They are ahead of North America (36%), with 11% from Asia-Pacific, and only a small number from Latin America and Africa. 

However, the US far outstrips other countries when respondents were asked which country was seen as having the best market conditions for digital health solution. 67% – followed by the UK (30%) and Germany (21%). The reasons given for the high scores for the US and UK were variously “attractive market size”, followed by “access to investors” and “acceptance of apps by doctors”. The English language was also a factor.

Not-for-profit organisations, including patient groups, charities and educational institutions, account for only 3% of all new apps. Following one, 32% coming from traditional healthcare sources (hospitals, healthcare systems, pharma/medtech, health insurers) and 28% from the digital-only health market (app developers, incubators and accelerators). The remaining suppliers included IT/tech companies, telecoms, and consultancies.

What is clear is that there are a lot of app publishers chasing decreasing numbers of downloads. Only a few apps have staying power.

The report also highlighted that the biggest growth trends. These were for health apps that can connect to doctors, support diabetes management, and which help to tackle obesity/cardiovascular diseases and depression.

Key findings from the report
  • Firstly, 325,000 health, fitness and medical apps
  • Secondly, 78,000 new health apps were added to major app stores in 2017. (including from 29,000 new app publishers who joined the market)
  • Thirdly, the numbers of Android apps are up 50% on 2016, while iOS (Apple) apps declined by 20%. Android is now the No 1 platform with Google Play overtaking the Apple App Store. 
  • Following on, the gap in supply and demand is widening with high number of developers, but low download growth rates
  • $5.4bn invested in digital health start-ups fuelling the market (of which $4.2 was US venture capital)
  • 3.6bn apps were downloaded by users in 2017 (estimated) – a 16% increase on 2016
  • 18% of respondents are not developing health apps due to uncertain regulations (although this is beginning to change with the US Food & Drug Administration’s announcement in July 2017 of a new approach to approving digital health solutions. Called the Digital Health Innovation Plan, in future whole companies could be approved, rather than individual digital products, so that new digital products or apps would not need separate approvals.)
  • Insurers are seen as the No 1 future distribution channel. 53% of digital health practitioners expect health insurers to be future distribution channel with the best market potential

Source: Research2Guidance

mHealth App Economics 2017 – Current Status and Future Trends in Mobile Health,

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