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Fitness activity tracker app: features, cost & monetization

Keeping fit is not a new trend — we’ve had gyms, running clubs, and health food magazines for decades. We can’t say the same about tracking. It’s a relatively modern technology that firmly entered the lives of people along with smartphones and wearable devices. Millions of users can’t imagine taking care of their body and health without mobile tracking devices. The number of downloads for fitness apps is growing every minute. What a time to enter the niche!

In this article, we will explore the fitness app market and give you a thorough step-by-step guide on how to build a fitness tracking app and make it profitable.

Reading time: 14 minutes

Table of contents

    Explore the fitness apps market

    According to Allied Market Research, the health and fitness apps market is growing annually by 24.3%. By 2030, it’s estimated to reach $120.37 billion. Market research by Statista is also encouraging, showing that in 2021 the global revenue in the fitness applications segment amounted to $4,024.9 million and is still growing. So, what contributed to the development of the fitness apps market?

    Statista report

    Post-pandemic pursuit of a healthy lifestyle

    The COVID-19 pandemic made us pay more attention to our health. People avoided crowded places and preferred workout apps over gyms. Fitness tracking app users had a great chance to stay home and train just as effectively — this was a perfect match for the changed lifestyle.

    A fitness app is an easy and affordable way to maintain wellness from almost anywhere.

    Increasing use of gadgets

    Today, smart devices are accessible and affordable. Smartphones are leading the way, and most fitness apps are installed on mobile devices. By 2030, we will see an increase in the use of fitness apps through wearable devices, but smartphones will still stand out from the competition.

    Allied Market Research

    Increasing time spent in apps

    According to statistics, 42% of users open their health and fitness apps at least once a day. They believe workout applications and fitness trackers help them achieve their health goals. We can assume that the time spent on fitness apps will only increase as the tech develops.

    Apps are part of the gym’s ecosystems

    Gyms and sports clubs added mobile apps into their business model. Fitness trackers help to increase the gym’s clients’ loyalty by providing workout history, saving users’ data, and drawing useful graphs and progress bars.

    The fitness tracking app market

    Fitness apps differ in their logic and features. Workout apps teach users to do their exercises correctly, often providing audio and video guidance and synchronization with wearable devices. Diet and nutrition apps help you track dietary habits, set and monitor calorie goals, and find healthy meal recipes. Nutrition apps and diet apps help users lose weight in a more interesting and engaging way.

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    Activity tracking apps, as the name implies, keep track of health indicators and different activities or exercises.

    Some trackers are designed specifically for runners or cyclists, some for professional athletes. But most activity tracking apps are suitable for everyone. 

    Tracking apps count the number of steps taken and the distance traveled, as well as measure your heart rate and other metrics. You can set goals and view your progress, always having a complete picture of your health condition saved on your device. The progress tracking feature is of great help when you are on your way to losing weight.

    The fitness app market is experiencing incredible growth, and it affects all types of fitness apps. We’re expecting to see 4x growth of fitness activity trackers by the year 2026 in the U.S. The trend can be applied worldwide.

    Grandview research

    Key players in the tracking apps market  

    If you’re going to make a fitness tracker app, check out the leaders in the market and the main features that popular applications incorporate. 

    MyFitnessPal

    The diet and exercise app helps users achieve their nutrition and fitness goals. Some of the key features here are gamification elements that motivate people and encourage them to spend more time in the app. There is also a barcode scanner to find the nutritional stats of certain foods and a water consumption tracker.

    MyFitnessPal app

    Nike Run Club

    The main logic behind the Nike Run Club app is tracking all the metrics that are important for runners, such as time, pace, distance, and heart rate. The signature feature of the app is an accurate GPS tracker that helps users visualize their activity and share their favorite running routes. It also supports indoor fitness — the app has a special mode for treadmill runners. Additional features athletes love are choosing music playlists and receiving push notifications that encourage new achievements.

    Nike Run Club app

    RunKeeper

    Another running tracker differs from its competitors by having features like expert guidance, monthly challenges, and running marathons. These features keep users engaged and motivated to achieve their fitness goals. The app also offers a paid subscription with additional features, such as building a personalized training plan and professional support throughout your journey.

    RunKeeper app

    FitBit

    A FitBit app is a basic health and activity tracker combined with a community page — a social feature that allows users to get inspiration from other athletes and share their achievements. The main thing here is that a mobile tracking app is only a part of a FitBit sports ecosystem. There are also wristbands, smartwatches, and pedometers that can all synchronize with the app.

    FitBit app

    Strava

    This running, hiking, and cycling tracker is famous for incorporating social network features. The logic behind the Strava app is the peer pressure/praise from sharing your activities with friends and followers. The app is free, though there are some paid features, such as setting custom goals, getting personalized training plans, and thorough performance analysis.

    Strava app

    Don’t know where to start with fitness tracker app development?
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    Must-have fitness tracker app features

    So let’s say you’re about to create a fitness app and ready to dive into the fitness app development process. Having analyzed the main features that famous fitness trackers have, it’s time to come up with your own. Here are the 8 must-have fitness tracker app features that will win the hearts of your audience.

    Goal setting and achievements

    A reliable fitness tracker app should allow users to set personalized goals and provide a sense of satisfaction when achieving them. This will keep them motivated and engaged in their fitness journey.

    Achievements in a fitness app

    Goal setting feature in a fitness app

    An activity tracker: steps, distance, speed, pace

    Accurate tracking of basic activities like steps taken, distance covered, speed, and pace ensures users have precise metrics to monitor their progress and make informed decisions when making adjustments to their workout plans.

    An activity tracker feature in a fitness app

    An activity tracker: steps, distance, speed, pace

    A history of workouts

    A comprehensive log of past workouts enables users to review their performance over time, helping them identify trends, celebrate achievements, and fine-tune the training process for achieving optimal results.

    History of workouts feature in a fitness app

    A history of workouts in a fitness app

    Training suggestions

    A fitness tracker application offering tailored workout suggestions has immense additional value. Based on user preferences and fitness levels, it provides expert guidance, helps create workout plans, and ensures that each session is purposeful and effective.

    A fitness tracker application offering tailored workout suggestions

    Training suggestions in a fitness tracker app

    Maps

    A map in a fitness tracker app allows users to track their routes during outdoor activities like running, cycling, or hiking, enhancing the overall experience and enabling them to explore new paths.

    A map that allows app users to track their routes

    A map in a fitness tracker app

    Push and email notifications

    Real-time notifications of a fitness tracking app serve as friendly reminders. Celebrating milestones and receiving timely encouragement will help users stay committed and enthusiastic. Maybe a push notification with a reminder like “check the water balance and have a drink if you need” will be a reason for the person who needs that nudge to use your app.

    Push and email notifications in a fitness tracker app

    Push and email notifications of a fitness app

    Social media features

    Exercise apps that are integrated with social platforms facilitate community engagement, allowing users to share achievements, exchange tips, and find inspiration, and thus fostering a supportive and motivational environment.

    Invite friends to your fitness tracker app

    Social media features in a fitness app

    Training support: a chat with a mentor or a community forum

    Among all the fitness app features, a one-on-one chat with a mentor via a training support channel probably promotes sustainable fitness activities the most. Meanwhile, participating in a community forum, seeking advice, sharing experiences, and communicating with like-minded people creates a sense of belonging.

    A community forum and programs in fitness tracker app

    Training support in a fitness app

    How to create a fitness app in 5 steps

    The app development process, no matter what type of app it is, generally looks like this: Market research ➡️ Defining platforms ➡️ Choosing features ➡️ UI/UX design ➡️ App development ➡️ QA testing ➡️ Release ➡️ Maintenance. We thoroughly discussed all stages of developing all kinds of apps here.

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    Fitness app developers follow approximately the same path. Now let’s explore the tracking app niche precisely. How do you actually build a fitness tracker application?

    Step 1. Do market research and plan

    Fitness application development starts with an idea. But without a clearly defined plan and proper market research, all your fitness app ideas will not become a reality. 

    Planning must take as much time and effort as the entire development process to bring real results.

    First, determine the specific demographic and user segments you want to target with your fitness tracker app. Then, study existing fitness activity trackers in the market to understand their features, user experience, and strengths and weaknesses. Identify opportunities that your app can capitalize on.

    How to choose a target audience for your fitness tracker app

    Determine the target demographic and user segments

    After that, develop a monetization model to decide how you will generate revenue from your app. Options include in-app purchases, subscription models, ads, or a combination of these. Lastly, ensure that you meet the legal and regulatory requirements related to fitness and health apps in your target market. This may include compliance with data privacy laws and regulations.

    Step 2. Define your platforms

    What devices does your target audience use? Of course, smartphones have become an extension of our hands, but when you are about to create a fitness app you have to see the full picture. Ask your potential clients if their physical activity is measured by smartwatches, wristbands, pedometers, or other tracking devices. Do athletes watch fitness videos provided by your app on TV? Maybe they are used to switching from smartphone to tablet when they come home and expect all data to be synchronized without delay.

    Analyzing your audience’s behavior will help you to make a fitness tracker app that meets all expectations. An app will become indispensable if it is linked to other software the customer is using and follows their activities on all preferable devices.

    How to choose a platform for your fitness app

    Microsoft decided not to choose one option between mobile app vs web app

    Step 3. Choose principal functions

    The idea to create a fitness app should be helping users achieve their fitness goals. They need to see their progress, track calories burned, stay motivated, and stick to the training routine. 

    The critical feature of a fitness app is a well-functioning data processing algorithm that gathers all activity metrics from the device’s sensors. 

    We can also add a desktop version and integration with basic utilities such as a calendar, a GPS tracker, and a music library.

    FitForce.com app screenshots

    FitForce.com app

    Depending on your target audience, you’ll have to implement additional features to develop a fitness tracker app that meets the users’ demands. For example, you can add sleep tracking and mental or emotional state tracking features — or maybe you’d like to add more gamification elements to engage your users. And remember that any feature you choose should benefit the end user in some way.

    Let’s start working on your fitness tracker app today!
    We look forward to hearing from you. Contact us for a free project estimate within 48 hours.
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    Step 4. User-friendly design

    Even if your workout application has a bunch of useful features, there is always the main one — the reason athletes choose your tracker and not another app. User-friendly design for a fitness app directly affects the UX and determines whether users will like the app or abandon it. Maybe the first thing users need when they open an app is to check their water consumption, set a timer for an exercise, or view yesterday’s number of steps before setting today’s goal. 

    Make it easy to navigate and edit user profiles — app users should be able to access everything they might want in just 1-3 taps.

    A couple more tips: maintain consistency in terms of design elements, such as colors, fonts, buttons, and icons, throughout the app. It helps users feel comfortable. Use legible fonts and appropriate font sizes. Ensure that the text is easy to read. Keep the interface clean and focus on the core features and information users need most.

    All that is pleasing to the eye and easy to use are light and aerial interfaces. Do not overload the user with your design delights – everyone already knows that UI / UX studios can execute cool things. It is better to be user-friendly and use pastel colors and light backgrounds.

     
    Designer at Purrweb

    Step 5. Develop interactivity

    Examples of successful fitness apps show that interactivity is key to creating a fitness app that motivates users and earns their loyalty. In the stage of fitness app development, pay special attention to the gamification and social features of the app. The afore mentioned Strava app, for example, lets you virtually compete with users from the same area and earn rewards while climbing the leaderboard. And in FitBit you can set up a family group chat and start a walking challenge.

    Your audience will be better engaged in tracking their progress and health routines if your app incorporates interactive features such as ratings, reward systems, stickers, and colorful stats. People are motivated by earning badges and certificates and sharing these achievements.

    Nike Run Club badges

    Nike Run Club achievement badges

    Step 6. Release an MVP and get feedback 

    MVP — Minimum Viable Product — the first version of your app. You’ve gone through all the stages of the fitness app development process and are ready to release a working fitness tracker. 

    How can the MVP approach help make a fitness tracker app that is both effective and reasonably priced? The answer is — get feedback. An MVP can help you gather valuable user feedback before spending the entire budget on a product that doesn’t meet customer expectations. It helps you to implement additional features that were previously overlooked or enhance the functionality of existing ones.

    The next you can do is check feasibility. Entrepreneurs are not programmers. Business owners can plan app functionality that is impossible to bring to life from the development perspective. MVP helps to test vital app functions, its scalability and algorithm realization, at the same time being a perfectly working application.

    Stages of an MVP development

    Minimum Viable Product stages

    Step 7. Maintain and update your app

    Regular maintenance involves monitoring for performance issues and security updates to keep the app running smoothly. Updating the app allows you to introduce new features and improvements that react to user feedback.

    Consider scaling if you realize that there’s a market demand for additional features. For example, people are downloading more diet and nutrition apps, and they fit into your original concept. But even if everything is fine and you don’t want to change anything, be sure to maintain your app to fix bugs, speed it up, and adjust it to operating system updates.

    Maintain your fitness tracker app to fix bugs

    Maintain and update your fitness app

    Tech Stack

    To develop a fitness tracking application, you’ll need to think about the technical stack. It’s a set of tools that are used for the creation of the app. It can also influence the cost of developing the app. At Purrweb, after going through various options, we settled on JavaScript frameworks. The choice turned out to be good, as we have successfully launched 300+ projects using this tech stack.

    Back-endNode.js, JavaScriptGives developers a scalable and efficient backend architecture.
    Front-endReact Native, React.js, Electron.jsReact Native allows you to save about 30% on cross-platform mobile app development. React.js and Electron.js speed up and simplify web and desktop app development.
    InfrastructureAWS, HerokuThe scalable infrastructure allows the application to be hosted and provides many useful features such as autoscaling and continuous integration.
    DatabasePostgreSQL, MySQL, RedisCombining different databases allows you to store data and maximize its protection.

    How much does it cost to make a fitness app?

    Here’s Purrweb’s health and fitness app development cost breakdown. Bear in mind that these are approximate numbers — we based them on our calculation of a fitness app that has basic functionality. 

    StageEstimation in weeksApproximate costs
    Project analysis$1,000
    UI/UX design$5,400
    App development 9 – 10 $36,000 – $40,500
    QA (Quality Assurance) concurrently with the development$5,400 – $6,000
    Project managementduring the whole project$3,950 – $4,100

    Overall, you will need approximately $56,000 to create your own basic functionality app, and the application development process will take 920–1020 hours, or around 4 months.

    Depending on the number of innovations, the staff involved, and the desired functionality, the app development cost can be lower or higher. Check out our article to get additional information about how much it costs to develop an app.

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    Monetization strategies for a fitness application

    Most of the famous fitness trackers are free in their main functions. However, it doesn’t mean that they are not making money. Let’s see what monetization strategies can help you meet all user needs while earning money.

    Subscription. Your app can have different levels of subscription, starting from a free trial and increasing based on the needs of the athletes. Your subscription fee may vary depending on the number of features a user gets or depending on the time they are planning to spend on your app.

    In-app purchases. When the audience is loyal and has a strong commitment to your services, they might want to boost their experience with in-app purchases. That can be additional features, such as access to video lessons or personalized training plans, as well as little one-time purchases — certificates, stickers, avatars. 

    Ads. An easy way to make money on the app is by allowing other brands’ to publish advertisements on your fitness tracker. Keep the amount of ads reasonable and make sure that users are not irritated. Ads should be thoughtful and match your brand style and niche. 

    Scaling. The most complex of monetization strategies is building an ecosystem around your brand.If you have other offline and online products and services, make sure the audience is aware and is willing to use your entire product line to enhance their experience. 

    Our Expertise in Fitness Tracker App Development

    Many of our customers also came to us with the ideas for fitness activity tracking apps. We are happy to share our experience in creating sports apps for the fitness industry

    Case-study #1. Simple fitness app design

    An app for online workouts that allows users to stay in touch with a personal trainer 24/7, create training programs, and share progress on social media. A distinctive feature is that the client can have a workout session at home with the same trainer as in the gym. We also added a system of subscriptions for trainers so that professionals could search for clients, send them requests, and offer services.

    How we’ve built a fitness tracker app at Purrweb

    How we created a fitness app

    Case-study #2. App for sports trainers FitForce.com

    FitForce.com is a mobile app for fitness trainers that helps them achieve their professional goals. With FitForce.com, a trainer can schedule and manage workouts, as well as track their clients’ progress from a smartphone or PC. The interface allows managing and sending invoices right from the app and scheduling classes, using a built-in calendar. The app even has a chatbot that notifies users about upcoming events and provides information on frequently asked questions.

    How we’ve built an app for sports trainers at Purrweb

    App for sport trainers FitForce.com screens

    Wrapping up

    In this article, we’ve discussed how to develop a fitness app. We’ve explored the different types of fitness apps, highlighted some successful examples, delved into the main steps involved in the fitness app development process, and considered the factors that influence the cost.

    Whether you want to create a workout tracker or a comprehensive fitness platform, the key is market research, user-friendly design, and a clear understanding of your target audience’s needs.

    Let’s discuss your future app! Fill in the form below and we will contact you in 24 hours.

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    FAQ s

    • What features should be included in a fitness app?

      Depending on your target audience, the main and additional features of your future fitness app may vary. The most important feature of an activity tracker is a well-functioning data processing algorithm that gathers all activity metrics from the device's sensors. You also need to know which other fitness devices your clients use and make sure your app can sync with them. Other important features include integration with basic utilities such as a calendar, a GPS tracker, and a music library. Push notifications will remind users of their goals. Interactive features, such as stickers, charts, and rewards, will motivate athletes in their journey. Here is a list of must-have fitness app features: Goals setting and achievements tracking; Activity tracker: steps, distance, speed, pace; History of workouts and training suggestions; Maps Social media features; Push and email notifications; Training support: a chat with a mentor or a community forum.

    • How to develop a fitness app tracker?

      The app development process, no matter what type of app it is, generally looks like this: Market research ➡️ Defining platforms ➡️ Choosing features ➡️ UI/UX design ➡️ App development ➡️ QA testing ➡️ Release ➡️ Maintenance. To develop a fitness tracker app bear in mind these 5 niche-specific points: defining your platform, choosing the key functions, investing your time into user-friendly design, developing interactivity, and getting user feedback after you release the MVP.