The past few years have seen a continued interest in mindfulness and self-care. In fact, 2022 has seen the number of searches for yoga and meditation apps increase by 65% year on year (YoY).
In March 2020 – the beginning of the UK’s first lockdown – newbies were steered into trying out meditation apps for the first time, with a 130% increase in searches for ‘meditation for beginners’ and a 50% increase in ‘free meditation apps’.
Searches for ‘meditation’ have peaked in January the past few years and in 2020 this lasted until around May. Since then, meditation has remained popular with the top 10 meditation apps having generated a revenue of $195 million over the last three years.
So with this in mind, we have revisited this booming market two years later, but this time looking at 13 popular meditation apps to discover what is continuing to contribute to their popularity.
Value for money
Digital Uncut has analysed the pricing of 13 meditation and mindfulness apps available for purchase right now. These are as follows:
- 10% Happier
- Stop, Breathe & Think: Meditation
- Core: Meditations with Feedback
- Waking Up: Guided Meditation
- Insight Timer
- Aura: Meditation & Mindfulness
- Simple Habit
- Sattva Meditations & Mantras
- The Mindfulness App
- Breethe: Meditation & Sleep
With the continued demand for meditation and mindfulness apps, we wanted to see which of these specific apps were the best value for money, based on the features they offer and the money they cost.
It’s fairly common to see free trials offered by subscription service apps. The idea being that users will go on to pay for the service once the trial period is over, or in some cases will have to pay in-app in order to unlock more advanced features.
From the 13 apps on our list, we found 12 offered free trials (Buddhify is the only one that currently has no free trial period, but offers an initial download cost instead of a subscription fee).
Annual sessions per £1
Given that a majority of the apps offered a similar trial period with similar conditions, we went on to see which apps offered the most meditation sessions per £1 of their cost.
The annual subscription costs each of the 13 apps offers are as listed below:
- Headspace: £49.99/ year
- Calm: £28.99/ year
- 10% Happier: £97.99/ year
- Stop, Breathe & Think: Meditation: £57.99/ year
- Buddhify: £4.49 / one off download cost
- Core: Meditations with Feedback: £68.99/ year
- Waking Up: Guided Meditation: £99.99/ year
- Insight Timer: £55.99/ year
- Aura: £45.25/ year
- Simple Habit: £87.99/ year
- Sattva Meditations & Mantras: £48.99/ year
- The Mindfulness App: £54.99/ year
- Breethe: Meditation & Sleep: £87.99/ year
From this, we’ve worked out how many sessions each app offers per £1 of its price tag. The final results are represented in the graph:
Based solely on the figures, Headspace, Sattva Meditations & Mantras and Calm offer the fewest sessions per £1. Buddhify continues to be the best value for money – as it was in our 2020 research – with 45 sessions per £1 spent. The second best value was Simple Habit, with 23 sessions per £1.
The results ultimately come down to the pricing plan of each app. Buddhify is unique in that it offers a download fee instead of a recurring subscription cost, which comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages that could impact its value from a user perspective. By offering no free trial, Buddhify is potentially lessening its appeal for first-time users who are looking to ‘try before they buy’. On the other hand, by offering a one-off download fee, the app instantly provides users with its entire catalogue of features, without them having to worry about a recurring charge.
Value for money = most popular?
From the 13 apps we chose to look at, the top two market leaders weren’t actually the ones that offered the most sessions per £1. Both Calm and Headspace were amongst the bottom of the list in terms of value for money, respectively offering one and three sessions per £1. Despite this, they are the two most popular and successful meditation apps available right now and collectively they have 170 million downloads, compared to Simple Habit which has just 4 million downloads, but is the second-best value for money based on our research.
This success can possibly be attributed to the specific content within each app, and the niches each app has found in the market. Headspace, for example, has been helped into its position as a market leader by gearing its content towards beginners – i.e. those who were most likely to try at-home guided meditation.
On the other hand, Buddhify ( the best value for money according to our research) describes their app as ‘the only meditation app designed to fit into a busy modern lifestyle’, aiming it at people with hectic lives rather than first-time meditators.
Ratings and Reviews
Alongside cost, we also looked into each app’s rating and reviews on both IOS and Android.
On IOS, Headspace, Core: Meditations with Feedback, Waking Up: Guided Meditation and Insight Timer all have a rating of 4.9. However, Headspace has 881.7K reviews, whereas Core: Meditations with Feedback only has around 800. Aura: Meditation & Mindfulness has the lowest rating with 1.8K reviews equating to 4.6. On IOS, the average rating for all 13 apps was 4.8.
When it came to Android ratings and reviews, Core: Meditations with Feedback and Waking Up: Guided Meditation had the highest rating of 4.9. However Core only has 100 reviews compared to Waking Up’s 30.5K. Sattva Meditations & Mantras has the lowest average rating on Android with 5.7K reviews equalling only 3.9 out of 5. The average overall rating was also slightly lower on Android at an average of 4.5.