Affiliate Disclosure: All links pay commissionReading Time: 6 minutes
I’ve produced rankings of sports-related apps over the last few years and this is a report on the progress those apps made with their installed user base throughout 2019.
The specific measures that I look at are the NUMBER of reviews and AVERAGE RATING on Google Play. I think these are a good proxy to assess both the magnitude and quality of the interaction that users have with their apps-of-choice.
The apps are also a proxy for device sales. You might assume that a 10% year-on-year increase in reviews for Tacx probably reflect an underlying new user base also growing by 10% ie that they sold 10% more trainers.
Anyway, you are a clever bunch so I hope you can see the benefits and drawbacks of this approach.
I’ve included app links so you can find out more about any apps that might be new to you.
This Year’s Results Table
If I’ve missed an important sporty app please let me know and I will add them if they have more than 1000 reviews or if they are noteworthy.
The image above is of the same data but the colour coding on that image aids readability.
|Android App Name||Android Reviews||+/- % vs year ago||Rating||Rank Jan-20||Rank +/- vs a year ago||Link|
|adidas Running by Runtastic||948,762||110%||4.5||1||0||Link|
|Nike Run Club||911,752||118%||4.6
|Asics Runkeeper GPS Track Run Walk||539,371||105%||4.4
|Strava Running & Cycling GPS||518,920||136%||4.5||7||-1||Link|
|UA Map my Run||225,181||115%||4.5||10||1||Link|
|UA Map my Walk||186,989||119%||4.5||12||0||Link|
|UA Map my Ride||127,191||113%||4.5||14||-1||Link|
|Ride with GPS||5,412||158%||4.6
|Elite my Etraining||1,179||2.7||41||Link|
Notes, What’s In and What’s Changed?
- There are a lot of new apps that I’ve added in this year to cover more mapping and outdoor uses as well as some smartphone’s branded health platforms, the most well-known of those is Samsung Health
- The listed apps include those which support GPS hardware as well as the more generic apps that typically record a workout on a smartphone with no external GPS hardware. The key players in the latter of these categories seem to have all been bought out by sporting apparel companies and the writing on the wall for these apps is that the owners will jealously guard their users – meaning, for example, that 3rd party developers will find it hard to get access to data from the likes of Nike.
- Some apps that fill a specific need are included even if they don’t meet the 1,000 review threshold eg STRYD
- Some ‘well-known’ apps like iSmoothRun are only available on iOS
- Under Armour has rationalised its number of apps and so some have fallen off the charts and some of the users of those apps will have moved across to the remaining apps and artificially boosted their numbers.
- adidas Running (by Runtastic) has 948,000 reviews and this will correspond to an installed Android base of over 50 million 1(yep) whereas Garmin Connect will be over 10 million installs and Polar Flow about 500,000. Precise figures are not available
- Suunto is migrating from Movescount to the Suunto app and, for now, some users use the related Sports Tracker app. In next year’s chart, these will likely rationalise down to only one app – the Suunto app
- I believe that the average rating score is time/version-limited in some way by Google eg a 2/5 rating one year might be ignored 2 years and 2 versions later when a 4/5 rating is seen.
- An obvious omission from this Android list is the Apple Health app and, of course, ALL the iOS versions of these apps. The number of iOS ratings is generally lower and the average iOS rating is high.
- I have some stats for the ‘couch to 5k’ type running plans. I’ve omitted those as there are a lot of similar apps that purport to provide running plans and, to be fair, some of them have many thousands of reviews.
- Several apps have closed and dropped off the list, including Microsoft Health, Mio Go, TomTom MySports, adidas miCoach and the UA apps that have been rationalised
- If I’ve missed any popular apps out then please let me know. If you are the app developer and just want your app included in the list then, sorry, it will need to have at least 1,000 Android reviews and be sport-focussed – but feel free to identify yourself in the comments section and plug your app there…I won’t delete ANY such sports app links.
- The phenomenal growth rates at the top end of the chart in recent years has now stopped, yet there are still impressive 10-20% growth rates for the likes of Nike. I’d call that a win.
- Despite Fitbit’s likely financial woes, their 145% growth rate this year (128% last year) just pipped that of Garmin (143% vs 177% last year). As a partial explanation, note that Fitbit has been discounting and also note that Garmin also has a superior satisfaction rating.
- RidewithGPS has recently pushed some new Android features to market and their 158% growth perhaps reflects recent investments they have been making in the app platform.
- The best-rated app is SportyGo a small-player but an app which provides some very clever sensor+data fun to users of WearOS & Samsung watches. Putting that anomalous app to one side, the most loved of the more popular apps are Nike, UA Endomondo, ReLive, RideWithGPS and Trainer Road. Nice job. And if you think about the MASSIVE installed base of Nike and UA the 4.6 ratings are even more impressive.
- Polar, Garmin and Suunto all have significantly improved app ratings compared to last year as do Wahoo and RideWithGPS. However, the biggest turnaround is from Tacx whose rating doubled from 2.1/5 to 4.2/5…sweet.
- Nothing stands out too much for me to mark the loser apps. The lower rankings of some apps have just been because of the addition of new entrants above them that I had omitted from previous years data.
- Perhaps Asics-Runkeeper might be worried that they are ‘only’ growing at 5% where similarly sized apps are still growing at a higher rate.
- Fitbit’s 3.7 rating has fallen from 4.0 last year and this is worrying as the one great thing about Fitbit always used to be the app/web platform.
- Google Fit and Asics Runkeeper should also be mindful that their approval ratings are falling. But Jawbone performs awfully here falling from 4.1/5 to 3.3/5…they could do MUCH better and are perhaps the only major loser here if one has to be identified.
Predictions for 2020
- Virtually impossible for new apps to get anywhere near the upper end of this table in the space of a year
- The trend for sports apps to generally innovate first on iOS will continue. Why? Many reasons, including: It’s easier to pair 3rd party sensors on Apple and Apple’s user base is assumed to represent generally wealthier people.
Last Year’s Results – here