The big picture: For every societal problem there truly is an app aiming to solve it. Meditation apps are trying to help you reduce your stress levels. Investors are throwing money at these apps to help them grow given their demand and low operating costs.
In some parts of the developed world there is a great push for everyone to be well educated, typically ending their student career with a four-year college degree. However, young graduates have frequently reported high stress levels at their entry level jobs, putting them on an unsustainable path towards burnout early on.
Trying to understand all of the cultural reasons for this can be difficult, but regardless of the why aspect of this phenomenon, venture capitalists have sought to cash in on millennials' reported stress. Mobile apps have been appearing left and right that offer meditation routines in varying forms.
Part of the reason for the rise of meditation apps is that they are very inexpensive to run and easy to monetize. For example, the Oak app currently has over 140,000 users each month, but costs just $700 per month in operating expenses. Many other apps with fewer users are charging $50 to over $100 annually but have similar operating costs. Even though overhead costs do increase once a team of staff is required, expenses remain extremely low compared to most other businesses.
Apps Headspace and Calm have collected $75 million and $88 million from investors respectively. Calm is a meditation app currently valued around the $1 billion mark, all for a piece of software that is supposed to help you feel less stress. Unlike Oak though, Calm has paid to bring in celebrity hosts to record meditation guides. Surely this costs a bit more to do, but it is a marketing tactic that is arguably working as intended given the company valuation.
Although stress can largely be attributed to cultural factors in play, there is no shortage of people willing to pay money to help alleviate the feeling. Feel free to sound off in the comments below on whether you would be willing to pay for one of the many meditation apps that has sprung up in recent times.