Uncovering the Heterogeneity in Fitness App Use : A Latent Class Analysis of Chinese Users

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article number10679
Journal / PublicationInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number17
Online published27 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022



This study examines fitness app use patterns and their correlates among Chinese users from the perspectives of uses and gratification theory and self-determination theory. Our sample comprised 632 users of WeRun, the fitness plugin of WeChat, the largest Chinese mobile social networking app; participants completed an online survey and provided self-tracked physical activity data, which were subjected to latent class analysis. Based on the four-class latent class model (which yielded the best model fit and the most interpretable results), 30.5%, 27.5%, 24.7%, and 17.3% of the users were categorized as light users, reward-oriented users, lifestyle-oriented users, and interaction-oriented users, respectively. Moreover, class membership was associated with gender, age, education, income, life satisfaction, autonomy, and platform-based motivations. There is a significant heterogeneity in fitness app use and exercise behaviors. Platform-based motivations and autonomy are important classification factors, as users are looking for specific kinds of gratification from their use of fitness apps. Demographics and individual characteristics are also explanatory factors for class membership. The study findings suggest that fitness app designers should segment users based on motivation and gratification.

Research Area(s)

  • fitness app, latent class analysis, motivation, physical activity, self-determination, WeRun

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