How-To

Guide to developing a fitness app

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Sikorskaya Kate

Marketing Manager

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Bagnyuk-Yurkantovich Waleriya

Business analyst

May 16
2022
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No doubt that a healthy lifestyle is still a huge trend in 2022. Peoples’ motivation to be fit and healthy is growing strong. And if you’ve been thinking about health and fitness app development, now is a perfect time to find a unique niche and make your product go viral! Today, the number of people who tend to use health and fitness apps as a great alternative to costly personal trainers has skyrocketed. So, the demand for such apps keeps going up despite the competition on the market. Read this blog post, if you’re looking for actionable tips and design ideas for custom fitness app development. We’re going to talk about how to create a competitive and profitable fitness app that would be able to engage people and build a loyal fanbase easily.
fitness app design

A promising market

The most recent report from Statista shows an increasing market demand in digital fitness & well-being apps. The total revenue in this particular segment already reached almost $25.38bn in 2022, which is almost doubled since 2019. And it is expected to grow even further at an annual growth rate of 14.72% while reaching a projected market volume of $43.96bn by 2026. More info from Statista in regards to these market: • User penetration will be increased by 12.52% in 2022; • User penetration is expected to hit 15.92% by 2026; • The average revenue per user is expected to amount to $26.64; • Most revenue is expected to be generated in China ($6,054.00m in 2022). Impressive, huh? 😏
Fitness app development trends

The trends related to wellness app development

  1. Combining online and offline. Since digital devices became an inevitable part of our lives, we interact with them on a daily basis for almost any reason from shopping to chatting with AI.
  2. Life with just one click. Today, we got used to doing exercises at home without costly investments or time demanding actions like driving to a gym, finding the right trainer, etc.
  3. Hyperpesonalization. The ability to analyze activity, nutrient intake, and more complex health parameters from wearable devices provides unprecedented opportunities for personalization and customization. This ensures you get exactly what you need just when you need it.
  4. Mindfulness and self care. The last decade was highlighted by an increased number of people who really got into sports, healthy eating, healthy lifestyle, etc.
Considering a booming app development industry tied to fitness and a healthy lifestyle, we’d say there are still enough great opportunities and profitable niches for promising products. So, if you've been putting off custom fitness app development, most definitely the perfect time is now!

Types of fitness mobile apps

The main purposes of all wellness apps are the same: to provide guidance, motivation, and accountability, to give people control over their health, activity, and life. However, there are 3 types of such apps that should be distinguished. Note, that this is not a strict rule - sometimes, an app includes features of different app types.

1. Online fitness and workout apps

According to Grand View Research, this is by far the most popular health & fitness app category. Common workout app features include fitness programs, yoga & meditation practices, proper breathing techniques, and personal affirmations with (or without) an aid from a coach. These apps help to create effective workout plans, get in touch with online fitness trainers, set goals, and track progress every step of the way. The most popular apps in this particular category are Calm, Fitbit, and 7 Minute Workout.

2. Diet and nutrition apps

These apps help users take control of their eating habits and maintain a balanced nutrition intake. Features include planning meals for proper nutrition, calorie counters, and nutrition monitoring, personal meal plan preparation and suggestions, shopping lists, and working tips for weight loss (or gain). The most popular apps in this category are MyFitnessPal, Fooducate, and Carb Manager.

3. Activity tracking apps

Activity tracking apps help users take control, monitor, and track their sports activities like jogging, steps per day, as well as sleep tracking, ovulation & periods tracking. However, this category also includes mobile health applications which are tied to specific health needs like heart rate or sugar levels. Often, activity tracking apps are paired with wearable devices and come as one of the features used as a tracking solution (like the one embedded in the Apple Watch). Most popular apps in this category are Strava, C25K, and HealthifyMe.
Fitness mobile app market

What makes a fitness app successful?

Based on the SimilarWeb and Statista data of the top fitness apps within the USA, we chose 10 top health fitness apps to see what made them so successful.
Top health and fitness apps 2022
So, based on this list, we identified the key success factors of developing a fitness app:
  • According to practical experience, mobile apps that offer flexible subscription options to users tend to stay afloat and make more money.
  • Personalization is a really big thing today and it is the main ingredient that can make any app go viral. According to the recent research conducted by McKinsey & Co, 71% of consumers in the US currently want to receive personalized interactions.
  • The quality of data and its ability to engage users boosts the value of any fitness app tremendously. Thus, it’s important to involve health & fitness experts in creating high-quality content like workout video tutorials, proper nutrition advice, hints from health professionals, etc.
  • Obviously, users love to interact with cool and catchy designed apps with a smooth experience and without bugs. Check out ​​how to build a high-performing application with our expert advice.
  • Reacting fast to users’ reviews and feedback is extremely important for building a stronger bond and connection with your community. That’s how you build a perfect roadmap to deliver a product that users will be delighted to use on a daily basis.

How to monetize a fitness app?

Once you come up with an app idea, don’t wait any longer and start building your own product. But keep in mind that there is one of the most important issues that you need to think about and figure out - fitness app monetization. Based on the opinion of Waleriya Bagnyuk-Yurkantovich, Business Analyst at SolveIt, we’ve compiled a list of the most relevant monetization options.

Freemium.

This is by far one of the most effective monetization options that draw in lots of new users by letting them get a hang of the fitness app and explore its basic features for free. Once the trust and loyalty to the product are built, you can organically offer advanced features for a fee so that users get the most of your app.

Subscriptions.

Unlike freemium, with subscriptions you make money by selling your exclusive content. The subscription option usually offers weekly/monthly/annual plans where users pay for a certain time period after going with a free trial first.

In-app advertisement.

Gives free access to an app with ads (monetization via partners) but users can pay a fee to switch off the ads. This monetization option works pretty much anywhere but don’t go too heavy on ads.

In-app purchases.

In this case, the app can be free but you make money by selling specific programs or services like weight loss programs or a 1-time consultation with a coach.

Paid apps.

Users must pay a set fee to use the app after a free trial is available for new users. Experience shows that this is the least effective option in terms of health app monetization success while people tend to be extra cautious when it comes to health-related issues. “The most relevant option for wellness apps in most cases will be freemium solely or combined with in-app purchases/ads. Anyway, the best practice is to make a decision based on your market analysis and user research which one would be the best option for your product.” - Waleriya Bagnyuk-Yurkantovich, Business Analyst at SolveIt.

Must-have fitness app features

1. Personal profile.

Includes personal data, settings, goals, programs user selected.

2. Diaries.

This feature allows users to track their daily activities based on the app’s type and purpose (meals consumed, hours slept), gives suggestions on how to improve parameters for a certain user, and data insights (charts, activity/macronutrient ratios display). This app feature should be easy to use. For example, for food tracking, integrated barcode scanners can be used for easy data input.
fitness app features

3. Expert blog and recommendations

Provides exclusive content, insights, hints & tricks from your experts in the text form, shortened or full-sized videos, audio files, downloaded tutorials, etc. Can be either free or premium. Ideally, this feature works best if personalized for each user. The content categories should be easily searchable with the ability to save or download to users’ mobile devices.
developing a fitness app

4. Catalog of courses or special programs

Includes food recommendations and daily menu for weight loss, tips on how to improve sleep or get rid of the sleep disorder, effective 7-days workout programs, etc. Can be free and premium.
wellness mobile app design

5. User content

Make sure that social media is embedded into your app where users can share posts, videos, and stories with like-minded people to boost engagement.

6. Social media sharing

Allows sharing achievements and app content with friends on Facebook, Instagram, etc. This feature is very useful for support and motivation purposes, but it also works great for drawing more new users straight to your app.

Step-by-step: fitness app development

Step 1. Investigation / Discovery phase

Discovery phase requires a business analyst who will conduct the competitive analysis, as well as target audience research to come up with the refinement of your product concept and prepare the necessary technical specification for your featured app based on the use cases. At this stage, you should also decide on a monetization model, define MVP version features, and build your UI kit.

Step 2. Choose technologies

As native app development adherents, we suggest choosing native because it is the best approach in terms of performance. For if you need cross-platform fitness app development, we recommend Flutter. For further recommendations on solutions architecture, it’s better to consult with a professional development agency or an experienced IT architect.

Step 3. Prototyping and design

This step involves wireframing, basic fitness app design, and having your app prototype ready. Then go with the prototype testing and evaluate the results.

Step 4. Development & support

At this point, you need to work on MVP development and app testing. There are 3 options to create a fitness app: 1. Hiring an in-house team 2. Working with freelancers 3. Outsourcing the project to a specialized development agency. Long story short, from the cost and quality ratio perspective the latter option is the best one.

Step 5. Launch, track, and maintain

Once you launch your product, you should take care of user acquisition, engagement, and retention. Plus, you should constantly support your app, release updates, and further versions. So, the version 1 release is only the start of your product journey.

How much does it cost to make a fitness app?

Fitness app development cost heavily varies depending on several factors: • Features and integrations • Tech stack • Complexity of UI/UX design • Expertise of the team • Development team location The cost of developing a fitness app MVP by a reliable development agency starts from $50,000. You may find astonishing numbers like $15,000 or even $5,000, but from our experience, for a quality bug-free fitness application this budget is barely enough. To develop a full version of a fitness app, expect the cost from around $100,000 to $250,000. Contact us to get a free fitness app cost estimation based on your specific requirements.

Summary

Starting product development is always challenging, costly, and risky. To make every step of the way go smoother, hire a reliable fitness app development company, whose experts’ insights will provide the edge you need for building the best app and snatching the market from your competitors. While you or your team can focus on the financial issues, promotion, and user acquisition.