A Preliminary Exploration of the Fitness App Market as Preparation for Research into Fitness App Intervention Among University Students in Scotland
Background: Greater health awareness among the public contributes to the prevalence of fitness apps. Adoption has further been driven by the coronavirus lockdown this year. The industry is thriving with a myriad of offerings. That paves the way for delivering fitness app-based intervention to university students, a large percentage of whom are found to be physically inactive.
Aim: To obtain preliminary understanding of the fitness app market, including users’ experience with fitness apps and barriers in the current market to make the fitness app-based intervention more effective.
Methodology: The MKTOR model is applied to shed light on barriers to the fitness app market. An exploratory approach, using the ATLAS.ti software for qualitative analysis is taken. A sample of articles published between 2015 and 2020 are selected based on their relevance to the research focus.
Findings: 19 articles and 3 websites are selected, with 108 quotations (averaging 4.91 per article) totalling 1686 words (averaging 76.64 per article) collected. Of the three behaviour components under the MKTOR model, Interfunctional coordination is found to be most relevant to the articles (56%), followed by customer orientation (40.74%) and competitor orientation (7.41%).
Conclusion: One of the biggest concerns in terms of customer orientation is keeping consumers engaged with the technology and satisfied with features such as privacy and health-related information. Issues with Interfunctional coordination include data governance, app design and innovation. A lack of differentiation and the rushed development process are two major barriers to competitor orientation in the fitness app market.
The pandemic has presented unique opportunities for the fitness app market, as users are practicing social distancing and increasingly health conscious. Researches trying to glean insights into the market, not least fitness app-based intervention projects which can help people navigate this unusual environment, are becoming ever more relevant.