The future may be uncertain, but the present is mindful...

March, 1 2019

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Iva Lila
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Iva Lila

mediationIf it feels like just about everyone is meditating, you're not wrong. Meditation and relaxation apps are trending in a big way thanks to an ever-growing body of research suggesting that the practice of ‘staying in the present moment’ can make us more resilient to stress, improve our ability to focus and enhance productivity.


In fact, the explosive growth of meditation apps even prompted Apple to crown ‘self-care’ the top app trend of 2018.

Last month, wellness app Calm announced it had raised $88 million in a Series B financing round, taking its current valuation to $1 billion and making it the first unicorn in the mental health category. Launched in 2012 by two British entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, Calm aims to quell issues impacting the modern age such as anxiety, insomnia and stress. 

Since its launch, the company has been a major player in the crowded wellness industry, competing with rival apps including Headspace, which is backed by LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner and musician Jared Leto. There is also 10% Happier, an app offering a series of mediation courses that is co-founded by ABC News anchor Dan Harris. On 7 June 2004, Dan famously had an on-air panic attack that eventually led him to pursue meditation.

Over the years, Calm has typically lagged behind industry darling Headspace which has dominated the market since its inception in 2010. However, following its iPhone App of the Year win in 2017, Calm - a company with only 50 employees (Headspace has 298) - has quietly propelled itself to the front of the pack. 

Our data shows that in 2018, Calm achieved an incredible triple-digit growth of 223.2% in revenues of in-app purchases on iOS devices alone. Headspace’s modest growth of 7.8% pales in comparison. Again, looking at iOS devices solely, Calm amassed almost 11 million downloads globally in 2018 with US consumers contributing to almost 50% of the total share. Headspace reported nearly 7 million downloads during the same period, with 44% of downloads rooting from the States.

Calm - downloads revenue 2018

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Screen Shot 2019-02-28 at 14.50.45A quick glance at the figures for January (the month of New Year's Resolutions) shows that Calm demonstrated the strongest start to the year with global downloads topping 1.1 million on iOS. With 574,000 downloads, Headspace’s gains in January - although impressive - were no match for Calm.

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While Calm has now firmly established itself as the wellness market’s leading app, Headspace is outperforming Calm in a number of key regions including China, Russia and South Africa.

Collectively, revenue for both apps exceeded $55 million in 2018, showing that more so than many other types of apps, meditation and mental wellbeing appears to be an area that consumers are comfortable paying for.

If you’re interested in looking into some of the data behind this rapidly growing app market for yourself, why not book a product demo with us and get browsing today!

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