The fitness industry has always been huge. Even before Jane Fonda appears on VHS in a leotard, fitness was a multi-billion dollar industry. Fonda tapes may have long ago been put away, but the trend towards fitness videos and applications that get people moving is anything but done growing.
This is a trend that Apple will cash in on with the release of iOS 8, which is largely geared at fitness junkies.
The new OS will have a dedicated health app, and it will also include a kit for developers that create health apps called “HealthKit.” Apple stands to take over the 6,000+ health apps that are currently behind used across Apple devices (numbers are according to mobile analytics firm Flurry). Flurry’s recent report also notes that mobile health apps have grown by a large 49% since 2013.
Health and Fitness Accessories Are Ready to Roll
If you wander into any Apple store in the United States, you’ll notice a number of health and fitness accessories are available. That’s largely because iOS users are all about apps that track health stats, and Apple wants to be front and center. Just how big is this market? It’s big enough that the term “Fitness Fanatics” is being applied to those that are obsessed with health, and any app that helps when it comes to health.
Who are these people buying into the fitness fad? Mostly women, studies suggest, and most of those women are in the 25-34 or 35-54 age brackets. Women are embracing app technology that speaks to them, and what speaks right now is health and fitness. But, this isn’t really anything new. Women have always powered the health, fitness, and diet markets – this just happens to be where apps (and accessories) are headed next.
Android Wants In
Rumors that Google is working on a Google Fit service have started to surface too. There’s not much news yet about the service, but you can expect it to be aimed at the same demographic, and it will likely compete with what Apple is doing – not that one came before the other, but the two companies will likely be marketing to the same female-centered crowd. Analysts expect women to start adopting fitness watches, bands, and lots of other tracking accessories too.
And women aren’t just taking over the app and accessory world either. Groups like the Spartan Chicks through Facebook and Reebok’s Spartan Races are strong support groups where women stand tall and just as tough as any man, and it’s hard to find a gym floor that doesn’t include at least one woman running the rack. Companies like Apple and Google aren’t stupid, they know that this is no longer a man’s world. Step aside, boys, the women are here, and we want our apps.
Startup tip: if you are working on developing a fitness company or app, you may want to check out this market, tap into what women are doing, and follow the lead of major companies like Apple and Google.