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MEF report finds mHealth adoption on the rise in emerging markets

mHealth adoption is growing globally, according to a new report conducted by the mobile trade body Mobile Ecosystem Forum.

Supported by AVG Technologies, the report reveals the usage trends and attitudes of 15,000 mobile consumers in 15 countries surveyed across five continents. The findings indicate that adoption of health and fitness apps globally has grown year on year by more than a third, from 11%-15% with consumers worldwide confirming that they use them on a regular basis. 

Similarly, the use of medical apps has grown by a fifth from 8%-10%.  Women are the most enthusiastic users with 50% more likely to use health and fitness apps and a third more likely to use medical apps.

At a country level, South Africans are keenest on health and fitness apps (22% vs the global average of 15%), while Nigerian mobile media users are most likely to use medical apps (usage has more than doubled in a year from 7-17%). More than half of those surveyed use wellbeing apps, with a fifth using them to help them manage their weight.

In Qatar and Saudi Arabia more than half of consumers have seen mHealth in action by medical professionals and in the UAE it’s almost two-thirds.

Rimma Perelmuter, CEO at MEF said: “mHealth represents a significant opportunity for growth and collaboration across sectors of the mobile ecosystem.  New technologies and innovative apps are improving consumers’ lives; facilitating fitness and wellbeing whilst providing greater access to essential & state-of-the-art healthcare. As the report confirms, adoption of mHealth services is accelerated in growth markets such as Indonesia, Nigeria and South Africa.”

“At the same time, the emergence of these exciting new sectors while delivering many benefits for businesses and consumers, also creates risks and responsibilities. The information collected by these apps and devices is by its very nature both personal and extremely sensitive, calling for the industry to be vigilant when rolling out such services.” 

Trust is cited as the largest single obstacle to growth in the mobile content and commerce industry with 40% of respondents indicating that a lack of trust is the number one factor that prevents them from downloading items more often. 


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