Global mobile health market set to hit $20.7 billion by 2018, report finds

DALLAS — The global market for mobile health apps and other products is expected to reach a value of nearly $21 billion in five years, according to a new report.

Market research firm MarketsandMarkets announced Thursday the release of the report, which analyzed the market for mobile health through 2018 in North America, Europe, Asia and elsewhere, forecasting that it would be worth about $20.7 billion by then. The market is currently valued at about $6.3 billion.

Currently, connected devices dominate the market, contributing about 85% of total revenue, with cardiac monitoring and fitness tracking ranked as the most prominent uses of mobile-enabled connected devices. The application market is in an "introductory" phase, the report found, and is highly fragmented due to a number of companies developing software; free apps constitute almost 90% of the download market for healthcare applications. In addition, significant price differences between health and medical apps lowers the adoption rate among healthcare professionals, and though the number of downloads of health apps contributed almost 90% of the healthcare applications market, revenue contribution was not significant due to a low average price range of $1 to $2 per download.

Major driving factors in the market include the growing adoption of smartphones, tablets and PDAs, increasing awareness of chronic disease management and connectivity such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and 3G and 4G networks.