Report: Mobile app market to grow 70% or more in five years

The mobile health app market will grow to $392 million over the next five years, a 70 percent increase, according to new data from research firm Frost & Sullivan. And it might be quite a bit more than that, as the market has "consistently outpaced forecast growth and revenue," over the past two years, according to Frost senior industry analyst Zachary Bujnoch.

"MHealth apps will continue on a steep growth curve as increasingly sophisticated mobile technologies and relationship-management tools disrupt the market," he said in a statement. "Despite the hype, mobile apps are the single-biggest digital channel since the '90s and the Web."

Healthcare apps, which have developed a reputation for being easily bought--and easily dumped--may be getting more sticky. Frost researchers predict that not only will new users buy health apps, but also that existing customers will continue to buy and use more mHealth apps.

Calling 2011 the "tip of the iceberg," researchers say that low barriers to market entry will continue to lure new vendors, although they note that U.S. Food and Drug Administration oversight and security concerns mean it won't be a hassle-free endeavor for new startups.

"Consumer awareness is mixed, with privacy and security concerns ever present in the mHealth market," Bujnoch said in a statement. "Also, while still overall a good thing, increases in FDA regulation and oversight may dampen innovation."

Note: A releated Frost report, covered by our sibling publication FierceHealthIT, also forecasts growth in the remote patient monitoring market, with a strong mobile component. Frost projects revenues will more than double to $295 million in 2016, up from $127 million in 2010. Interestingly, the report predicts that remote patient monitoring technology will move in a more consumer-facing direction, driving much of that growth.

Even with double-digit growth rate for the past decade, Frost researchers say the market hasn't reached its "billion-dollar potential" because of scalability problems and limited business models.

To learn more:
- read the Frost & Sullivan report (purchase required)
- check out the Frost mobile apps press release