The healthcare apps market is dominated by small and medium-sized start-ups that are trying to expand their reach further. Stakeholders in the Indian healthcare ecosystem are focusing on leveraging healthcare apps to make up for the shortcomings of traditional infrastructure. During the pandemic, the use of healthcare apps for online consultations, lab test bookings, and monitoring and tracking of patients’ vitals went up.
An increasing focus on patient-centric care, emergence of advanced technologies, and changing business models have been crucial in driving the healthcare apps market in India. In terms of revenue, the market in India was valued at INR 43.41 Bn in 2020. It is estimated to reach INR 337.89 Bn by 2026, expanding at a CAGR of ~39.37% during the
2021 – 2026 period. Wellness management and appointment scheduling apps have gained immense popularity. The demand for chronic disease management apps is expected to grow rapidly in the next few years.
Digital transformation, coupled with substantial support from the government, has aided the growth of the healthcare apps market in India. The digital footprint of the country has been strengthened by a swift growth in the number of mobile subscribers and Internet users in the country. The number of smartphone adopted was 810 million in 2020 and is expected to surpass 1.2 billion by 2026.
The market has faced significant challenges due to lack of awareness, security issues, and unsatisfactory app performance. Moreover, for most consumers, fitness and wellness management are the areas of primary concern. They are unaware about the types of healthcare apps that are available for various health issues. Also, stakeholders are uncertain about the performance and efficiency of apps because of the unavailability of clinical performance data. Although digitization has disrupted the Indian healthcare landscape, a significant part of the population is still unaware about the benefits of healthcare apps.
Impact of COVID-19
The onset of COVID-19 triggered a structural change in the Indian healthcare system by encouraging people to use healthcare technologies. Numerous healthcare apps have been introduced by the central and state governments to combat COVID-19. These apps are being used for digital contact tracing of confirmed and potential patients, ensuring compliance with quarantine guidelines, spreading awareness, providing updates about COVID-19 statistics, and issuing advisories.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, numerous healthcare apps have been launched by the central and state government authorities, which have been developed and designed by various IT companies. The issuing of Telemedicine Practice Guidelines by the Indian government in March 2020 boosted the adoption of healthcare apps. The major concerns regarding the existence of several apps are duplication of efforts, low penetration, and lack of data privacy.
The highly competitive healthcare apps market in India is fragmented and has many small and medium-sized players. Several non-healthcare companies, including IT and software development companies, technology companies, and app development agencies have entered the industry. However, the market is still in the nascent stages – players are still experimenting with different business models to accomplish monetization. Among the various models, licensing, third-party app development, in-app advertising, and pay-per-download have achieved significant success.