Best Sports Apps | Report & Table – Winners & Losers of 2020

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Best Sports Apps – Winners & Losers | 2020

2020 saw big changes in my annual sports ranking tables. Unsurprisingly, the best sports app winners from 2020 include Zwift and Tacx/Garmin. Some of the other winners include Samsung, Huawei, Peloton, Relive, Google FIT and several Couch-to-5K apps. The most notable loser was UA Endomondo…which was 4th in the table last year and now ceases to exist.

What I Do

The specific measures that I look at are the NUMBER of reviews and AVERAGE RATING. I think these are a good proxy to assess both the magnitude and quality of the interaction that we have with our apps-of-choice.

I’ve included app links so you can find out more about any apps that might be new to you.

Historically I looked at Google Play and recently added in some of Apple’s app store data, starting in Jan 2020.

 

Headline Differences & Trends

What stands out the most to me is that Apple App Store apps invariably have significantly higher ratings than their Android counterpart. Either the iOS apps are better engineered or the average iPhone user is a more forgiving, positive person.

Clearly, the biggest trends of 2021 should reflect an increase in indoor equipment training with the likes of Peloton, Tacx and Wahoo plus an increase in outdoor activity being recorded on generic sports apps like Nike RC that do not necessarily require a GPS sports watch.

The number of reviews on Android apps are normally much higher than those for the equivalent iOS app probably, in part, reflecting a larger user base.

Biggest Movers & Shakers

  • Android: Samsung Health storms up the Android charts to take the #1 slot, leaping over adidas and Nike RC. Huawei is up 5 with Relive & Polar Beat both up 4. From a low base, Zwift rocks up 10 places.
  • iOS: adidas, Wahoo Fitness, RwGPS and Google FIT all take a hit in their positions table, whilst everyone still loves Nike RC, Peloton and Alltrails.

Watch Out: Almost every app grew Android reviews by over 20%. Those that did NOT achieve that growth rate include Asics Runkeeper and Trainer Road. Alongside that are those who have low review ratings like Fitbit, Suunto, Tacx, Rouvy & Stages. In the past, low reviews have foretold bad things that came later.

Of the iOS apps that I have year-on-year data for, Suunto is growing notably less than all the others.

Crème de la Sweat

Apps deserving a thumbs up because of stellar approval ratings include these on Android adidas/Runtastic, Garmin Connect, UA Map my Walk/Ride, Relive, Komoot, Osmand, Final Surge and Pumatrac Whereas, on iOS a list of the many top-performers includes adidas Runtastic, Nike RC, Strava, Asics Runkeeper, UA Map My Run/Walk, Zepp and several others too (sorry I didn’t mention you by name).

This Year’s Results Tables

Here we have two similar tables, one for the Google Play Store and the other for Apple’s app store followed further below with some interesting points and commentary.

Android Results

The image above is of the same data but the colour coding on that image aids readability.

Android App NameAndroid Reviews+/- % vs year agoRatingRank Jan-20Rank +/- vs a year agoLink
Samsung Health1,137,750131%3.9⬇️⬇️12Link
adidas Running by Runtastic1,062,551112%4.6⬆️2-1Link
Nike  Run Club1,003,340110%4.53-1Link
Fitbit746,995128%3.741Link
Strava Running & Cycling GPS641,956124%4.452Link
Garmin connect623,170138%4.6⬆️62Link
Asics Runkeeper GPS Track Run Walk567,669105%4.37-1Link
Huawei Health426,639285%4.2⬆️85Link
Google Fit413,616123%3.9⬆️90Link
UA Map my Run301,035134%4.4100Link
Zepp (Amazfit)248,587167%4.1112.5Link
UA Map my Walk246,848132%4.6⬆️120Link
Sports Tracker222,090103%4.3⬇️13-2Link
ReLive189,326245%4.7⬆️144Link
Komoot175,594163%4.6150Link
UA Map my Ride162,110127%4.616-2Link
Polar Flow126,408127%4.217-1Link
Geocaching102,339122%4.418-1Link
OsmAnd96,900145%4.6190Link
Withings HealthMate79,882146%4.1⬇️201Link
Couch2 5K53,315106%4.4211Link
Polar Beat45,740130%4.2224Link
Jawbone Up44,704101%3230Link
AllTrails44,553125%3.9241Link
WikiLoc43,949116%4.525-0.5Link
ViewRanger43,174110%4.326-2Link
Locus Maps37,852113%4.8⬆️270Link
One You Couch to 5k29,954200%4.7⬆️287Link
LG Health27,963113%3.729-1Link
Couch Potato to 5k26,163146%4.8302Link
Suunto App25,333138%3.3⬇️⬇️310Link
Zombies Run22,757119%4.5⬆️32-3Link
Training Peaks19,967124%4.6331Link
Suunto Movescount19,235101%3.634-4Link
Wahoo Fitness16,893202%4.4353Link
Couch to 5k RD C25K16,397101%4.436-3Link
PumaTrac15,929203%4.6⬆️372Link
Couch to 5k14,690108%4.438-2Link
Couch to 10k12,486106%4.2⬇️39-2Link
Ride with GPS9,016167%4.3⬇️400Link
Tacx Training8,839396%3.4414Link
Zwift7,9021154%4.34210Link
Peloton6,451331%4.0⬆️⬆️434Link
Elite HVRV5,640122%3.8⬇️⬇️44-3Link
Couch to 5k and 10k4,286139%4.3⬇️45-3Link
TrailForks3,668188%2.1⬇️⬇️462Link
Trainer Road3,031108%4.2⬇️47-4Link
Bkool2,804145%3481Link
Gpsies2,374105%2.349-5Link
IpBike2,374106%4.150-4Link
Elite my Etraining2,135181%3.8⬆️⬆️51-1Link
Epson Pulsense898102%2.652-1Link
Rouvy767169%3.1⬇️531Link
HRV4Training757131%3.954-1Link
STRYD377140%4.1⬆️⬆️551Link
ithlete349107%3.856-1Link
FinalSurge150146%4.6⬆️⬆️571Link
BioforceHRV115103%2.958-1Link
Xert91121%4.1590Link
StagesLink77275%2.1⬇️601Link
TodaysPlan63154%3.7⬆️61-1Link
Sporty Go27270%4.3621Link
Strive.ai17142%3.8⬆️⬆️63-1Link

 

 

iOS Results

 

iOS App NameiOS Reviews+/- % vs year agoRatingRank Jan-21Link
AllTrails516000172%4.91Link
Peloton4296004.92Link
Nike  Run Club370800126%4.83Link
One You Couch to 5k (NHS England App – Free and Good)2360004.84Link
UA Map my Run132400204%4.85Link
Strava Running & Cycling GPS90100138%4.76Link
Garmin connect81000192%4.37Link
UA Map my Walk65600219%4.88Link
Asics Runkeeper GPS Track Run Walk51900161%4.89Link
Withings HealthMate44100142%4.510Link
UA Map my Ride39400266%4.811Link
Fitbit23600141%4.112Link
Polar Flow15500139%4.613Link
Couch to 10k148004.814Link
ReLive13800185%4.815Link
ViewRanger13700180%4.616Link
adidas Running by Runtastic12700529%4.717Link
Tacx Training100004.418Link
Couch2 5K7300178%4.619Link
Geocaching6800159%4.820Link
Wahoo Fitness5700359%4.622Link
Polar Beat5300168%4.623Link
Zwift49004.624Link
Trainer Road41004.925Link
Samsung Health4000200%4.426Link
Zombies Run3800141%4.827Link
Training Peaks2500133%4.728Link
Komoot2300231%4.829Link
Zepp (Amazfit)1500287%4.830Link
WikiLoc1400155%4.731Link
Ride with GPS1100246%4.632Link
Suunto App1000109%4.133Link
Google Fit749524%4.334Link
PumaTrac583?4.735Link
Huawei Health572275%2.436Link
Sports Tracker549107%4.837Link
OsmAnd151629%4.438Link
HRV4Training1463.739Link
TrailForks86195%3.540Link

If I’ve missed an important sports app please let me know and I will add them provided they have more than 1000 reviews or if they are noteworthy.

 

Source: the5krunner.com, iOS/Android app stores

 

Notes, What’s In and What’s Changed?

  • I added a lot of newer apps into the table of results last year and this is partly reflected in the movements shown but some gaps remain.
  • Samsung’s growth appears to be due to a reported surge in sales of its equipment due to political restrictions placed on Huawei by the USA.
  • 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 who want to jealously guard ‘their’ data – 3rd party developers will find it hard to get access to data from the likes of Nike.
  • The demise of Endomondo shows that many of these apps are simply not profitable despite vast numbers of downloads & reviews
  • Some apps that fill a specific need are included in the table of results even if they don’t meet the 1,000 review threshold eg STRYD
    • Even though STRYD has a total of less than 400 reviews, the number of active Runners with Power is around 100,000 globally, though not all with STRYD (>10,000 STRYD installs on Android). This low level of user feedback could simply reflect STRYD not asking you for it.
  • Some ‘well-known’ Apple Watch 6 apps like iSmoothRun are only available on iOS
  • Some apps are also a proxy for device sales. You might assume that a 400% year-on-year increase in reviews for Tacx probably reflects a similarly large increase in the sale of indoor bike trainers.
  • adidas Running (by Runtastic) has 1,062,551 reviews and this will correspond to Android downloads of over 50 million (yep, 50x greater).
    • Whereas Garmin Connect has well over 10 million Android installs and Polar Flow is now just over 1,000,000 installs. You might surmise that the number of Garmin devices is at least 10x that of Polar and you would be right; it is AT LEAST 10x…probably a lot more 😉 That said, you could still correctly deduce that Polar has sold millions of sports watches/devices.
    • Strava has 641,956 reviews and “over” 10million downloads (download figures are imprecise). By my guestimations, the active number of STRAVA users is currently at a high but well below 20 million.
  • Suunto is still migrating from Movescount & Sports Tracker apps to the Suunto app. In next year’s chart, these will likely rationalise down to only one app – the Suunto app
  • I believe that the average Play Store rating 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.
  • This data is probably genuine. I would imagine that 5-figure numbers of ratings are hard to fake. I would also imagine the risk of trying would be great!
  • 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.

Predictions for 2021

  • Impossible for new apps to get anywhere near the upper end of this table in the space of a year, although I wish I had recorded the Peloton stats better a year ago!
  • The trend for sports apps to innovate first on iOS will continue. Why? Many reasons, including that it is easier to pair 3rd party sensors on Apple and Apple’s user base is assumed to represent generally wealthier people.
  • Double-digit growth expected across the board.
  • I also suspect that some apps will wither and die soon but maybe not in 2021.

Last Year’s Results – here

Sports Apps 2020 Report & Table – Winners & Losers of 2019 – Best Sports App

 

 

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Gioby

I’m still trying to find a good app that can give insights about my recovery and training ( not only for running but also for strength training) ,based only on my chest strap that is not sportwatch dependant. Something like oura ring

tfk, the5krunner

that’s a good question with a complex and unsatisfying answer. Question for you: how do you expect a chest strap to quantify your efforts in the gym? perhaps, for example, your HR gets up to 110-bpm when doing a few calf raises. Yet your hr could be 170bpm over an entire 5k. But you intuitively know that those calf raises must affect your recovery for running.

Gioby

I would like to have an app similar to apple health that can aggregate data from mulțime sources and give you insights about your performance and recovery. For recovery hrv changes during the night could be useful. All brands offer a solution but keep you trapped inside their ecosystems.
All the platforms already available are more tailored to runners and cyclist. For other categories like strength training and cardio there isn’t any useful metric ?

Markus, AI Endurance

https://aiendurance.com

if you’re looking for an app that is personalized and gives you actionable insights on your data, not just stats on past activities. Customized towards your goals and time constraints.

Paul-Emile

Hi there, thanks for the great work! Feels like Running Heroes should feature in this list. Running Heroes has a strong user base in France, UK and Australia and has recently become available in Brazil and Romania. Cheers!

tfk, the5krunner

yep, i’ll add that on. will be next year when the y-o-y changes show.

Paul-Emile

Sounds good!