The smartphone health apps market grew sevenfold in 2011 to a whopping $718 million, according to research firm research2guidance's new Mobile Health Market Report 2011-2016. That's up from barely $100 million in the company's estimate just last year.
With more smartphone users coming online daily, and the vast majority of healthcare players creating apps of one sort or another, that growth will continue to skyrocket, the report said. The figures drew from both service and device revenues.
The report called the market "embryonic" as of yet, noting that the number of apps created by mHealth players has more than doubled in the past year. One particularly interesting point in the report's summary: The apps market also is expected to continue to become more sophisticated, as developers move beyond simple data-capture or data-reporting apps and into more complicated functions like chronic-care management, diagnostics and the like.
The business models are changing as well. Download fees and advertising continue to dominate the revenue streams for now, but soon that will switch to a more service-oriented sales model, with apps becoming "platforms to sell other health services and hardware," according to the report summary. In particular, a "second generation of apps" will move quickly into the remote monitoring field, and turn to subscription fees and services.