Sports Apps – Winners & Losers 2016-2017

I did some work on sports apps (run/walk/bike/tri) in mid-2015 for one of my non-the5krunner projects and decided to revisit and update some of the stats from 2015 with figures to the end of 2017. The results make very interesting reading for me and some of the winners and losers might be surprising to us all.

These are stats of sports apps showing: the number of ratings; and Google Play’s estimate of the broad range of the number of installs eg Garmin Connect is said to have between 5 and 10 million installs to Jan 2018. Google Play obviously only shows global Android installs but kindly also gives us the exact number of reviews and the current aggregate review rating. So we have some indication of the user base as well as the engagement of the user base.

Source: Original 2015 data in this post with links to each app on Google Play.



There are lots of partial insights you can glean from this less-than-perfect data. Here are my takes:

To put this data into context: we are talking about 2 and half years of growth during probably the biggest growth phase this market may ever have. There have been some eye-wateringly expensive takeovers in this part of the market. Ignoring takeover costs for a minute, then all the Big Companies have still also spent MANY millions of dollars developing the apps in-house. We might assume that the numbers of users would also have vastly increased as a result?

Sure the growth has been very good. But imagine for a minute the cost per user of the development+acquisition per each new user. The cost of acquiring these extra users anecdotally seems very high to me especially for the pure app companies. OK, I’m sure Garmin have made a few dollars from their hardware that runs alongside the apps so they are OK!

There may also be an Android-factor. Over the last few years Android apps have, in my opinion, generally got better at, err, working. So rather than praying for your app to pair to your device in 2015, now the app usually does pair. At least that is my experience, but you can see from the review ratings that there has been VERY LITTLE change in the rating of the apps by customers. If the tech has got better, then people certainly don’t seem to appreciate that; or maybe it’s mostly the grumpy ones who bring the aggregate review rating down a notch or two?

I know Nike have spent lots on their apps and the growth looks low. But they have probably benefitted from their iOS tie up with the Apple Watch so the ‘growth’ they were hoping for may not be shown in the figures above.

The standout figure for me is the 2.3 rating of TomTom’s MySports app. Go figure. They pulled the plug on the market and even an improved app in 2017 did not save them.)

Suunto should be mindful that they have the exact same rating as TomTom MySports, as do Epson. Be careful guys.

Fitbit is still the leader of the platforms that support thir own watch hardware. Fitbit have had great growth in their app installs but so have Garmin, Polar and Suunto. Less so Wahoo, although Wahoo are a little different.

There is probably much more analysis you could infer from the revenues that might come from the price of the app and/or from the price of the subscription that the app install might imply. On that note, STRAVA looks interesting and they clearly have more users than 2.5 years ago but how many are paying? Yet why are their review numbers ‘only’ up 233%? Maybe we all have STRAVA accounts but most of us don’t really use them enough to even warrant a review? Maybe.

TrainingPeaks must be a bellweather of the tri industry? They must have done well and I would imagine have a high percentage of paying subscribers.

Elite HRV have come from almost nowhere in the HRV space and their growth, to some degree, validates the notion that in those 2.5 years HRV has become MUCH better understood, accepted and believed.

I could go on and probably hazard at a guess for any of the apps and how or why they have grown. Your thoughts? Either generally or specifically to individual apps.

Q: Are there any notable sports apps I should add that have over 5000 reviews?

NB: Polar has two apps in the list as do TomTom and others. Amer Sports own Suunto and Sports Tracker. Sports Tracker is NOT SportTracks. Under Armour owns Endomondo, MyFitnessPal and MapMyFitness. Microsoft, adidas and MIO don’t make hardware any more in this space. TomTom are withdrawing. Microsoft might have another go. Epson are having another go at hardware. Runtastic is owned by adidas.


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10 thoughts on “Sports Apps – Winners & Losers 2016-2017

  1. Would like to see RunMeter. Great app that says: your data stays your data. Very important when you care about your privacy.

  2. TrainingPeaks: Unfortunately it‘s the ONLY tool which supports true multisport with individual FTP setting for each sport – but has a hefty price tag (for non-pros) and no data take out (of original unaltered files). The free version is extremlely capped, that you have to use the paid version.

      1. ? dont think so.
        i have 2x CP curves. one for each sport on one user. v3.4

        not sure if it combines them how you say. i use ST3.1 for my overall performance (HR)

      2. Cycling & Running works in GC. But I do other stuff (with power) too. ? ST3 (desktop version) can handle it a little bit with some additional Plugin. ST (web version) can handle it a bit too. But none of them can handle it fully like TP. Did try every single available tool. ?

  3. IsmoothRun doesn’t have the reviews, but it has been my go to app with my apple watch lately, & the phone app has even more options. Pretty sure it’s an ios only app.

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