Wearables act as an extension of the wearer’s body and brain. Usually acting in partnership with smartphones, they allow us to access the same digital content but without distracting us from the physical world. Analysts predict shipments will grow from 10 million in 2013 to 135 million in 2018 (CCS Insight).

The rise of the wearables market is being driven in part by the growth in mobile apps designed to monitor or improve users’ health and wellbeing. The global health and fitness app market is worth ‘just’ $4 billion now, but could be worth $26 billion by 2017 (Research2Guidance).

As the mobile ecosystem expands to include markets such as health, finance and education, it’s important that companies and investors understand the consumer’s viewpoint.

MEF’s Global mHealth and Wearables Report 2015 supported by AVG Technologies – is a survey of 15,000 mobile media users in 15 countries across five continents. It offers a unique analysis of consumers’ attitudes towards and consumption of these exciting new products and services in different markets.

Key Insights:

  • Globally 44% of mobile media users have seen a medical professional using a mobile device during treatment or diagnosis.
  • In Qatar and Saudi Arabia more than half of consumers have seen mHealth used in treatment or in diagnosis and UAE almost two-thirdsHealth and fitness apps have grown year on year by more than a third (11-15%), and medical apps by a fifth (8-10%).
  • Women are the most enthusiastic users. They’re 50% more likely to use health and fitness apps and a third more likely to use medical apps.
  • Globally, South Africans are keenest on health and fitness apps (22% vs the global average of 15%), while mobile media users in Nigeria are the most likely to use medical apps (usage has more than doubled in a year from 7-17%) whereas.
  • More than half of mobile users use apps to relax or train their mind. A fifth use apps to help them manage their weight.
  • In Qatar and Saudi Arabia more than half of consumers have seen mHealth used either in treatment or in diagnosis and UAE almost two-thirds

Rimma Perelmuter, CEO at MEF said: “mHealth and wearable devices represent a significant opportunity for growth and collaboration across sectors of the mobile ecosystem.  New technologies and innovative apps are improving consumers’ lives; facilitating fitness and wellbeing whilst providing greater access to essential & state-of-the-art healthcare. As the report confirms, adoption of mHealth services is accelerated in growth markets such as Indonesia, Nigeria and South Africa.

At the same time, the emergence of these exciting new sectors while delivering many benefits for businesses and consumers, also creates risks and responsibilities. The information collected by these apps and devices is by its very nature both personal and extremely sensitive, calling for the industry to be vigilant when rolling out such services.”

Trust is cited as the largest single obstacle to growth in the mobile content and commerce industry with 40 per cent of respondents indicating that a lack of trust is the number one factor that prevents them from downloading items more often.


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