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5 minutes read

Apps Rise in the Midst of the Pandemic

By Robert Kazmi
By Robert Kazmi
5 minutes read

It’s been a few months since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world, and we finally have some data on the impact it has had on the mobile app market. Based on information released by App Annie, there is now a clearer picture of how users have responded to the ‘new normal’.

In general, there’s been an important increase in terms of app usage, downloads, and consumer spending. If you want to understand what this means and get an idea of what to expect in the near future, read on.

The Key Takeaway: Increased Usage

One thing everyone knew from the start of the pandemic was that it would intensify existing trends, both good and bad. Luckily, when one looks at the numbers, there seems to be more of the former. The one bad thing that seems to deserve attention is the uncertainty, but that isn’t new. It’s just something we will have to learn to live with. 

For Q2, the world saw a 40% YoY increase in mobile app usage. It is hard to separate what percentage of this was bound to happen anyway and what percentage was due to the pandemic. What is clear is that this process was accelerated, and there are reasons to believe that it is not temporary. Although this increase is a consequence of lockdowns and social distancing measures worldwide, we believe that it is permanent. 

In other words, it seems pretty unlikely that there will be a decrease in mobile app usage in the short and probably even long term. There might be some decrease as things stabilize, but going back to pre-pandemic levels seems highly unlikely. 

Before the lockdowns, many people were dubious about using their mobile apps for all sorts of services. Due to the situation the world is living, many people from all backgrounds and ages are being faced to use their apps as the safest and easiest way to satisfy their wants and needs, something they wouldn’t have done otherwise. 

This has led to an important shift in consumer behavior. Many have now discovered the benefits of using their mobile apps to save time and money in essential and non-essential as well as time-consuming tasks. Due to this, we feel it is unlikely to expect app usage to decrease considerably.

More Apps Are Being Downloaded

App downloads have also increased considerably. Almost 35B apps were downloaded in Q2. This represents a considerable increase from last year.

In terms of Android downloads, which are 25B of the total downloads of Q2, there was a 10% increase YoY. Surprisingly, 10B of the total number of Android downloads are gaming apps. The logical conclusion is that Android users are looking for ways to spend their time, but this needs some additional research in order to be validated. 

In terms of non-gaming apps, Android downloads saw an important increase in categories like Business, Health & Fitness, and Education. This is consistent with the trends we have been observing since the beginning of the pandemic, particularly in terms of EdTech and MedTech. For the latter, there are many opportunities within the fields of Telemedicine, IoMT, and Digital Therapeutics

Downloads for iOS are 10B of the total number of Q2, displaying a 20% YoY increase. In this case, non-gaming apps had a 70% increase YoY, something very different to the Android market. This difference between iOS and Android confirms that they have two different types of users. Apple users are looking for something different to games, but as for the case of Android, further research is needed. The most significant iOS non-gaming increases were in terms of Health & Fitness, Shopping, and Medical apps. 

Expect Spending to Go Up

Another important aspect to take into consideration is the increase in spending. Consumers spent 17B on iOS apps and 10B on Android apps; they had a 15% and 25% YoY growth, respectively. From these spendings, most went to gaming apps: 65% for iOS and 85% for Android.  

The important message here is that, although the world has seen an economic downturn, consumers are still spending money on apps. There might be various reasons for this. For a start, as we already mentioned, many people are just discovering the benefits of going digital. Also, it seems that even in times of economic turmoil, consumers need to satisfy certain desires like how they spend their free time through games and other activities like education. The idea that in times of hardship there is no room for entertainment has been reevaluated as entertainment has been proven to be a very human thing. 

This is a very positive sign as it speaks fairly of the app market, not only in terms of consumer spending, but also in terms of users’ willingness to try new things through their mobile phones. 

Wrapping It Up: What to Expect

It is too soon to say whether the information discussed here is a long term trend, but we are definitely starting to see how markets behave amidst the pandemic. More information and research are needed, and only time will tell how things evolve. 

For the moment we can be certain that the app market is responding to users’ needs, and most importantly, users are looking for apps. This means that it is still a good moment to invest in existing or new apps. 

However, this should be done correctly. Developing an app combines elements of science and art, and not everyone is suited to develop the product you want. Choosing the right development partner is key to any app’s success.
If you’re thinking about taking your app idea to the next level, you might want to consider Koombea as your app development partner. Our more than 12 years of experience building world-class apps and the number of awards we’ve won throughout the years speak of the quality of our work. Contact us for a free consultation.

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