“Self-care apps are booming,” according to an April 2018 Tech Crunch article. The same article quotes Apple as identifying self-care as one of the top four break-out trends in 2017. Sensor Tower estimates:
- The revenue from the top 10 Health and Fitness apps grew over 61% in 2018.
- US$321 million was spent across both the App Store and Google Play.
- Leading the way is Calm, a meditation app which earned an estimated $63 million and grew 271% last year.
Discovering the size and potential of the yoga and meditation apps was a result of doing a competitive market analysis for a start-up going through the Lean LaunchPad Accelerator Program at UBCO. We had a number of questions about the Health and Fitness category, along with yoga and meditation apps:
- How big is the Health and Fitness category of apps?
- Do price or ratings affect the number of installs?
- How many yoga and meditation apps are currently on the market?
- What is the proportion of free vs. paid apps?
- For the paid apps, what is the price range?
- What are the highest rated yoga and meditation apps?
- What are the most installed yoga and meditation apps?
- Are all the yoga and meditation apps on the market being actively maintained?
- What is the sentiment in reviews?
With a relatively recent Google Play data set available on Kaggle, I created some dashboards in Tableau to find the answers to these questions.
Google Play Store Overview
Before focussing in on yoga and meditation apps, I took a look at all the Google Play apps to get a sense of how the Health and Fitness category compared to the other categories:
- Health and Fitness is the 12th largest category with 46% of the apps having more than one million installs.
- Compared with other categories, the smaller size of Health and Fitness will make it easier to find a new app.
- The proportion of apps with over one million installs is better than average.
- Only 7.38% of all the apps on Google Play are paid apps. The others are free to install, but have in-app purchases.
- Apps with less than one million installs span the entire range of prices, though most are less than US$10.
- While there are far fewer paid apps at the higher levels of installs, they are all under US$10.
- Like with price, apps with less than one million installs have ratings over the entire range.
- Apps with the highest levels of installs have a rating of at least 3.0. Most have ratings of 4.0 or higher.
Yoga and Meditation Apps
Next, I set up a dashboard for the Health and Fitness category. We could then drill into the yoga and meditation apps and compare them with other types of health and fitness apps. Since there are a variety of different types of apps, I manually went through the category and grouped the apps by type (e.g. “Abs”, “Workout”, “Meditation”, “Yoga”, etc.). In the process, I discovered that there was some duplication of data, which needed to be cleaned up. I also learned that the biggest apps were dedicated to women’s reproductive cycles. Did you know there was a little corner of the app universe dedicated to essential oils? Sometimes there is value in doing some manual data work.
With respect to the 23 yoga and meditation apps:
- They are all rated 4.0 or higher.
- The top competitive meditation app, Headspace, is the only app with over 10 million installs as of August 2018.
- Daily Yoga is the main competitive yoga app with over 5 million installs.
Only one yoga and one meditation app are paid.
The others are free to install, but require subscription to access all the features and content.
Subscriptions start at US$9.99 per month.
- When an app was last updated indicates if it is being actively maintained.
- Google releases a new version of the Android operating system every year.
- Pocket Yoga, for example, had not been updated since Dec 2015. Unless it was updated after this data set was scraped, it likely will not work with the current Android release or current phones.
Sentiment and Key Words in Reviews
If you want to know what users think of an app, read the reviews. Since the data set included “100 of the most relevant reviews”, I thought a sentiment and n-gram analysis might reveal some insights. Turns out that only apps starting with the letters A to H had some number of reviews scraped. Fortunately, the four biggest yoga and meditation apps were included. All combined, there were 128 reviews, so at least we could see what these four apps had in common.
Since all yoga and meditation apps are rated 4.0 or higher, it’s no surprise that the sentiment and the words are generally positive. What was more valuable was doing the n-gram analysis to prepare the data for the word cloud in Tableau. Below are the first 20 lines of the table I created in Python:
I used the full list of 1-grams with their rate of occurrence to create the word cloud. However, it’s the 2-grams, 3-grams, and 4-grams that give more insight into what users were really talking about. It looks like it’s important to prove the value of the app in the first week, which is often the length of the free trial.
What’s Next for our Start-up?
Based on what we learned in this analysis, the team will:
- Install and evaluate the main competitive apps for user experience, features, and content.
- Determine what features and content are offered for free versus what is available with subscription.
- Do a full textual analysis of the reviews for the main competitive apps to understand what users are saying.
- Do the same analysis with App Store data and compare the results.