One of the best niches for mobile app development is the weight loss industry. How many people do you know who want to lose weight, even if it’s only a few pounds. In the US, which is still the most active market for English-based apps, the potential customer base is even bigger because they have the highest rate of obesity in the world. That will make the winner of “best weight loss app” no surprise.
Recently, the University of Sydney did a study of more than 800 weight loss apps. From those 800, they selected 28 because they all allow their users to document their food intake on a daily basis. The researchers used each of those apps for five days, measured and rated them on a variety of metrics. These include: usability, scientific data coverage and accuracy, source credibility, utilisation of useful features and their ability to help users actually change their eating and exercise patterns.
According to Juliana Chen, a dietitian who authored the study, weight loss apps are popular despite the fact that none of them are perfect. She feels that weight loss apps “can be helpful for (those) who want to (monitor) the amount of food and kilojoules they are eating each day.”
The research team found some inaccuracies in the apps, with an average discrepancy of 127 kilojoules in the measurements of the apps they used.
Chen and her team rated the apps, with any app offering behaviour-changing solutions being ranked near the top. They ranked the apps on a point scale offering more points to apps developed sources she considered to be the most credible: especially those developed health professionals. She also gave more points for motivational features and challenges because she felt they were most likely to change behaviour. These included point systems, feedback and rewards.
Top Apps According to the Study
Due to their obesity, it comes as no surprise that the US led the way in weight loss apps. Out of her top eleven apps, nine were produced in the USA. Only two were produced in Australia: ControlMyWeight and Easy Diet Diary. Here are the apps and their developers in order of rank.
1. Noom Weight Loss Coach (Noom, Inc)
2. Calorie Counter PRO (MyNetDiary, Inc)
3. ControlMyWeight (CalorieKing Wellness Solutions)
4. Food Diary and Calorie Tracker (MyNetDiary, Inc)
5. Easy Diet Diary (Xyris Software)
6. Calorie Counter (SparkPeople)
7. Jillian Michaels Slim-Down: Weight Loss, Diet & Exercise Solution
8. MyPlate Calorie Tracker LITE (Demand Media, Inc)
9. Calorie Counter (MyFitnessPal, Inc)
10. Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker (Calorie Count)
11. My Diet Coach Pro (Inspired Apps)
What this Means to You, the Mobile App Developer
Since the beginning, we have been solidly in the corner of finding a niche and finding a problem a lot of people in that niche want to solve. Weight loss is the niche and the problem in the same phrase. There is a lot of opportunity in this niche but we feel it is such a broad niche that there may be more opportunity in “drilling down” to find a great sub-niche.
Sometimes, it seems like there are as many schools of thought in weight loss as there are people who can write a book. Some like high protein with low carbs. Some like raw vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds only. Some are vegetarian. Some prefer a diet based on complex carbohydrates with a small amount of protein. The “Paleo Diet,” in which only foods a caveman could have found or hunted, is popular. The Zone Diet with a 30-40-30 ratio of protein to carbs to fat has inspired numerous similar diets. Some believe in eating only organic food. All involve some sort of exercise.
Whatever your preference, all of these make great niches. If you have ever tried to lose weight, think of the problems you may have had. For example: finding ways to make food taste better, shopping to find the foods you need and logging food intake and exercise are popular niches.
Contact the App Creation Professionals Today
To learn more or if you have an idea for an app, go to the menu bar and click “Contact Us.” Let’s talk about your idea and see if you can find your way into the weight loss niche. And remember: you don’t have to be a health professional to create a great weight loss app.