Virus Spurs Boom in Fitness App Installations

Andy Berg Headshot

Health and fitness apps saw a 67 percent jump in global installs in late March and early April as lockdown orders were implemented in response to COVID-19.

The higher installs led to a 61 percent jump in user sessions in May as the apps took time to catch on, per a study that app tracking company Adjust and fitness app Gympass shared with Mobile Marketer.

In the U.S. installs of health and fitness apps were 58 percent higher at the end of March from the 2020 average. Daily sessions peaked at 25 percent above average in May, and have slowly declined since then.

By July, daily sessions were 16 percent higher than average, indicating that many consumers were still engaged with the apps. Brazil, Germany, Mexico and the U.K. also experienced increased usage of fitness apps, the study found.

According to the study, Sunday is the peak day for usage of health and fitness apps, while Friday is the lowest as people prepare for the weekend or have a "cheat day.”

Almost 83 percent of Americans said they're willing to do virtual workouts amid the pandemic, which may indicate a longer-term shift in consumer habits, Gympass found in a separate survey.

Gympass suggest that a longer-lasting shift will have major implications for companies like Apple, which is developing a subscription service for virtual fitness classes, Bloomberg News reported this month, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter. Codenamed "Seymour," the offering likely would become a significant rival to sportswear brand Nike and exercise equipment maker Peloton that either have workout apps or host livestreamed exercise classes. Apple would provide greater incentives for people to sign up for the virtual workouts by bundling them with other subscription services like Apple Music, Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade.

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