Fitness tracking apps have grown at an astonishing rate over the past 5 years, with estimates forecasting the global fitness app market to have a compound annual growth rate of 23% through to 2023, according to Market Research Future. Yet the category is beset by negative publicity around two key areas - accuracy and relevance.
The accuracy argument is constantly bubbling around - with the latest Which? report grabbing further headlines around the technology's inability to accurately predict the Marathon duration, with the worst offenders adding up to 11 miles to the race length.
Frustrating for sure for those who rely on them to accurately plan their race strategy.
For other users, however, is it really the granularity of the data capture that is the key challenge? While there is some debate on 10,000 steps per day and how that magical figure was derived, the fact remains that keeping active is important to health and wellbeing. Perhaps the benefits of apps is not so much the exact data capture today, but more how it can keep users mindful and engaged?
Even with the explosion of fitness apps and trackers, the battleground is much like that the gym chains have faced over the years. How do you keep people motivated, active and fee paying?
Transforming behaviours for the long term is always challenging, but without sustainable and repeatable evidence, outcome measures will remain challenging, undermining the real health opportunity that sits behind technology.
“Our tests have found a number of models from big-name brands that can’t be trusted when it comes to measuring distance, so before you buy, make sure you do your research to find a model that you can rely on,” said Natalie Hitchins, head of home product and services at Which?