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United States / Analyst Insights
Industry Perspective: Mindfulness Apps

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by Cecilia Fernandez, Lead Industry Research Analyst
Feb 07 2020

The rising popularity and visibility of alternative medicine and its proponents (including figures such as Deepak Chopra and Eckhart Tolle) have made meditation a common practice in the United States. Meditation classes and studios have been proliferating nationwide, even being offered in the workplace and on college campuses. The number of Alternative Healthcare Provider establishments (IBISWorld Report 62139b), which include meditation, yoga and massage services, is anticipated to increase 2.0% in 2020 alone. Furthermore, consumers have adopted new ways to meditate in recent years, primarily through their smartphones. According to the Wall Street Journal, more than 2,000 new meditation apps launched between 2015 and 2018, indicating a sharp increase in both usage and demand for such services. This number is estimated to continue to increase in 2020 and 2021, as IBISWorld anticipates the percentage of services conducted online will increase 6.7% and 5.6%, respectively.


In recent years, mindfulness apps have become particularly popular. These applications aim to help people combat anxiety, sleep better or increase focus through digital content, including guided meditations, audio lessons and music, among other methods. The current market leaders of the industry are Headspace, Calm, The Mindfulness App, Insight Timer and Buddhify. However, it is estimated that Headspace and Calm account for the majority of the market share due to their first-mover advantage and extensive reach, with Calm listed as Apple’s App of the Year in 2018. Nonetheless, apps focused on mental health, mindfulness and stress reduction are still not considered a suitable replacement for traditional mental care. Even so, they have gradually been accepted as a good resource for consumers that want to cope with everyday stressors, particularly those exacerbated by technology and social media.

IBISWorld estimates the number of mobile internet connections in the United States will increase 1.7% and 1.3% in 2020 and 2021, respectively. Though the number of mobile internet connections has approached saturation in recent years, expanded and more-consistent household connectivity has benefited industry operators. For instance, due to rising demand, Smartphone App Developers industry revenue (OD5817) is anticipated to increase 7.2% in 2020 alone to $20.1 billion. IBISWorld estimates indicate the top-three application categories are entertainment, business and lifestyle apps. The wellness app category has seen notable growth. According to Sensor Tower, an app market research company, the 10 highest-grossing wellness apps in the United States generated an estimated $15.0 million in revenue in the first quarter of 2018 (latest data available), a 167.0% increase from the first quarter of 2017.



With new mindfulness and self-care apps arriving every year, the subindustry is anticipated to continue to increase at a robust pace and become more defined. Leading brands are collaborating with airlines, smartphone companies, schools, among others, in order to get mindfulness apps preinstalled in smartphones and other technological software to reinforce the importance of self-care and gain brand exposure. The rise in mindfulness apps has been a milestone in the self-care trend and has started the conversation across generations to use smartphones as an instrument to aid mindfulness practices.


Looking for more industry perspectives on health and wellness? IBISWorld analysts break down the industry implications of therapy going digital


Edited by Sean Egan

Infographic designed by Veronica Albarella