What are the best meditation apps? Analysing competitor app reviews of Calm and Headspace

Over the past decade, mental health and wellbeing have gradually become a prominent focus in our everyday lives. As such, the popularity of mindfulness apps has sky-rocketed, with revenue growing from $8 million to $195 million in just four years.

Calm and Headspace are leaders in the industry, providing practices and insight into mindfulness. They offer users guided meditation, breathing exercises and audio stories – a must for anyone looking to make positive changes to their wellbeing. But how do they compare when it comes to customer reviews?

To find out, we analysed thousands of competitor app reviews for these two industry-leading mindfulness apps. We then uploaded this app review data to Relative Insight, a text analytics platform that exposes the differences between text data sets.

Relative Insight reveals the words, phrases, topics, grammar and emotion that are unique to each set of app reviews. This helps brands realise the potential of analysing and using customer feedback to unearth reasons as to why customers are choosing competitors.

First, let’s look at reviews for Headspace.

Headspace app reviews

All technology brands aim to provide value to users in an easy format, and it’s clear that Headspace are nailing it. Customers are 3.1x more likely to use words and phrases such as incredibly helpful, really happy and improves throughout their reviews.


In this competitor app analysis, we found that Headspace customers appreciate the visuals of the mindfulness app. Users are 16.6x more likely to use the words animations and videos throughout their reviews, highlighting the importance of interactive elements in app design.

insight card - animations

Meditation streak

Another key consumer insight that we discovered is that Headspace users are 4.7x more likely to speak about their meditation streak on the app. Having a ‘streak’ is an example of how Headspace utilises gamification to encourage user engagement and ultimately drive repeat usage of the platform.

However, we also found users expressing their frustrations about this aspect of the app, which can often reset their meditation streak resulting in demotivation and disappointment. Headspace should look to resolve this issue quickly to keep customers happy.

insight card - meditation streak on apps

Andy’s voice

When it comes to meditation, having a soothing voice can really help you get in the zone. Throughout Headspace reviews, customers note that they really like Andy’s voice – describing it as relaxing and calming.

Calm app reviews

Dislike Tamara’s voice

In contrast, when looking at Calm app reviews, audiences speak about disliking Tamara Levitt’s voice. Users claim the narrator is irritating and are frustrated that “90% of the sessions are from Tamara”. This type of customer feedback is vital to Calm’s product and brand development teams. Calm should consider having a variety of narrators leading a larger proportion of sessions, to prevent users from switching to another competitor with more choice.

insight card - app reviews show users dislike Tamara's voice

Beneficial for children

Mindfulness is something many of us have discovered with age. However, the benefits for children are boundless. Calm even has a section of their app dedicated to children, named Calm Kids, which includes Sleep Stories, meditations, and lullabies suitable for young people.

In our analysis, we identified family to be a key theme in app reviews of Calm, with customers talking about their children and kids 3.2x more than Headspace users. Clearly, Calm’s kids feature is being appreciated by users, giving the app competitive advantage over Headspace. Calm should leverage this angle throughout their marketing and communications, and could even create subscription packages specifically for families.

insight card - good for kids

Partnership with Rosé from BLACKPINK

Partnering with influencers is an effective way to reach new audiences and we certainly found this to be the case for Calm. Their collaboration with Rosé from BLACKPINK has had a huge impact on Calm’s app reviews, brand perception and app downloads, with users claiming to have:

“Downloaded this app just for Rosé”
“Downloaded it for our Rosé from blackpink, her calm voice omg”

Downloaded this app because of rosé, Rosé endorsed this app so I’ll give this a 5 star 💜”

This emphasises the influence of brand partnerships and how collaborating with a K-pop celebrity that audiences admire can positively impact how your brand is perceived. Headspace should take note!

insight card - partnership with Blackpink

As consumers search for tranquillity, whether it’s to meditate, sleep better, diet or just chill out, it’s interesting for competing businesses to know what sways audiences towards downloading one app over another.

Analysing voice of the customer data can reveal key audience and demographic insights, that can inform product development and ultimately enable you to beat the competition and win market share.

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