In the world of mobile apps, 2014 appears to be shaping up to be the year of the fitness fanatic. A new report by app analytics company Flurry shows that health and fitness apps are surging -- in fact, they're growing at a rate 87 percent faster than the rest of the app industry.
After studying more than 6,800 iPhone and iPad apps listed in the health and fitness category during the past six months, Flurry found a 62 percent increase in usage. This is far higher than all other apps, which have seen a combined 33 percent increase in usage.
This trend appears to be a big change from last year. In its report, Flurry says the overall mobile app industry grew 115 percent in 2013 in terms of average daily usage, while the health and fitness category only grew 49 percent.
It's unclear what exactly caused the switch. But one of the reasons could be that several of tech's top players have also gotten into the health and fitness craze over the past few months and are beginning to market their own apps and accessories.
Samsung now has two smartwatches and one fitness band that focus on health features. Apple just announced its upcoming iOS 8 HealthKit software, which will let users track health-related data. Facebook recently acquired the health and fitness tracking app Moves. And Google is reportedly readying a new health service platform called Google Fit.
Flurry also believes the growth could be a result of improved apps and more ease for people to integrate their data with Facebook and other social networks.
"The MapMyFitness application's integration with Facebook is a great example," Flurry writes in its report. "Friends can cheer each other on, like and share their achievements and even start competing against each other. This innovation has increased the viral distribution of these apps through the social networking channel."
So who are these people spending copious time on health apps? Flurry calls them "Fitness fanatics." According to its crunched data, the analytics firm found that the predominant users of health apps are women between the ages of 35 and 54. Fitness fanatics are 62 percent female and 47 percent are in that middle-age range. Flurry also found that the average health app users are sports fans, parents, and avid runners that don't spend a lot of time on social networks or mobile gaming.
"Halfway through 2014, app usage is tracking nicely towards another triple digit growth year and many sectors are growing with it," Flurry writes. "We predict 2014 will be a holiday season of commercials made especially for soccer moms."