Survey: Diabetes apps are top prospect for developers

By Jonah Comstock
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The diabetes management space has long held a commanding lead as the most popular target for mobile health developers, according to a new blog post from Research2Guidance based on their mHealth App Developer Economics report, for which the research firm surveyed 5,000 developers.

"In each survey we have conducted since 2010, diabetes has consistently been considered the therapy field offering the strongest business proposition for mHealth," researcher Sean Phillips writes. "In fact, according to our 2015 survey, 70 percent of mHealth practitioners rated diabetes highest for its market potential over the next five years."

Obesity -- the next rated disease area -- came in at just 38 percent, followed by hypertension (29 percent), depression, (23 percent), and coronary heart disease (16 percent). That ranking has stayed the same since last year, but diabetes has remained on top since R2G began tracking the space in 2010.

According to R2G, more than 1,500 diabetes apps exist worldwide and the leading publisher of diabetes apps sees about 120,000 downloads per year.

"If 2015 was the year we witnessed an acceleration in the development of interconnected D-devices, 2016 looks to be the year that device manufacturers compete with software developers in the market for tools that assist users in making smarter on-the-go decisions to achieve more effective glycaemic control," Phillips writes.

The report, which was originally released in November, predicted that the health app market, currently valued at $10 billion, will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 15 percent to reach $31 billion by 2020. They noted at the time that although the health app market has seen significant growth, app developers are still trying to find effective monetization strategies. Existing app revenue sources, for example advertising and paid downloads, that developers in other industries use, are not sufficient for monetizing health apps.