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In Time of Need: The Most Popular Apps During Quarantine

The most popular apps during quarantine - illustration by Abdelaziz Baba

Mobile apps simplify our lives. We use them to make purchases, order meals, browse news, and check on weather reports. They serve as organizers and help monitor health, read books, and buy tickets. The importance of mobile apps in daily life is beyond doubt with 90% of smartphone users preferring them over mobile websites. Because of the COVID‑19 pandemic, people are transitioning to isolation and remote work. So it’s important to make this new stay-at-home routine as comfortable as possible. The demand for digital counterparts of preferred people’s activities is rising. This app development trend will only grow, which is worth considering from the business perspective.
So which app categories are the most required and useful today? According to AppsFlyer’s report on the Coronavirus impact on app installs, both app install and usage rates are up in the US. The most popular app categories being: food delivery with 135% installs increase, streaming (+85%), education (+80%), casual gaming (+50%), health & fitness (+75%), social (+105%), and news (+45%). 

Media streaming apps

As of today, more than half of the Earth’s population, 4.5 billion people, use the internet. More and more people prefer to use online services for watching videos and listening to music, rather than storing content. In the CD era, the ability to listen to music without storing it seemed a real miracle that people dreamed of. In today’s digital age it’s the most common way to do it and it offers so much fun.
The popularity of online cinemas, as well as movie and TV show streaming services, is growing year by year. What’s more, most of this content proves to be much cheaper compared to classic movie theaters, while the list of possibilities is much wider. Huge databases with detailed descriptions and trailers help you choose just the right movie for every occasion. In comparison to watching TV, a person themselves decides what and when to watch and on which device: a TV, laptop, tablet or smartphone.
Top music streaming apps: Spotify, TuneIn Radio, Soundcloud.
Top video streaming apps: Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video. 

Importance of mobile apps

SoundCloud App Redesign by Shakuro

Gaming apps

Mobile games are considered the fastest-growing segment of the gaming industry. Within a ten-year period, the sector has gone from being the smallest gaming segment to the largest. Gaming apps are also the most popular app category accounting for 22% on Apple App Store and 13% on Google Play. 
Since mobile technologies do not stand still but continue to improve, the graphics and sound quality of today’s mobile games are amazing. Modern smartphones have the processing power of desktop computers, offering their owners great gaming opportunities.
However, mobile gaming is still frowned upon in the hardcore gamer community. The thing is, it doesn’t change the global picture. Most people use them to spend time, while for some it’s a favorite hobby. In addition, some games greatly contribute to psychological relaxation and are even recommended for relieving stress or tension. And it seems like we all could use a little relaxation nowadays.
Top iPhone games: Disney Sorceror’s Arena, Homicide Squad: New York Cases, Baseball Boy!, Retro Highway, Undead Horde, Fortnite, Clash Royale.

Educational apps

Self-isolation is not only an excuse to give your house a proper spring cleaning and binge watch as many TV shows as you can. It’s also a great chance to learn something new and broaden your horizons.
Educational applications are rapidly gaining popularity in the US and worldwide, for kids as well as for adults. One of them is Google Classroom, which now ranks first in the AppStore and Google Play, with the downloads number already exceeding 50 million.
Developers are constantly creating numerous educational apps for children and adults, where the goals can be completely different from learning Spanish to recap on your Math.
Top educational apps: Google Classroom, Flipgrid, Duolingo.

Why apps are important

Educational App Design by Shakuro

Social media and communication apps

Remember how until recently we lamented that social networks have replaced real life? Now the very internet that we often considered somewhat toxic suddenly became the only guaranteed safe place. In today’s situation, such apps really make it possible to stay in touch.
According to statistics, roughly 45% of the world’s population uses social media, with an average of 2 hours and 23 minutes per day of social media screen time. This is a mobile society. Life without mobile phones is unimaginable.
Social networks have changed our world a lot. They let us meet like-minded people, read only the news we’re interested in, share happy moments, and receive help. Social networks on the web have given tremendous opportunities for social applications on mobile devices. Cameras, microphones, real-time sharing, geolocation, and other tools formed a new way of using social networks, which is qualitatively different from the web experience.
Top communication apps: Houseparty, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Discord. 
Top social media apps: Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat.

Health & Fitness apps

Finally, people are motivated to exercise primarily to improve their health, not because of having the gym membership.
Home workout apps have never been in such a demand. And, fortunately, there are a huge number of fitness applications, just a few seconds of downloading away. With the best trainers and smart, personalized technologies, training at home can be as effective as in the gym.
What are the benefits of home workouts? Training with the help of streaming services gives you the opportunity to engage with the best coaches. And a monthly subscription (if there is one) costs less than a single class at a fitness studio. Moreover, there is no need to waste time traveling to the gym and the risk of getting COVID‐19 is eliminated. For many, the isolation regime can become an occasion to form a habit of exercising regularly.
Top health & fitness apps: Peloton, Seven – 7 Minute Workout, Fitocracy.

Mobile apps in daily life

Fitness App Mobile by Martin Mroč

Food delivery apps

Even without being self-isolated, people nowadays prefer to use food delivery services, at least twice per week, and many on a regular basis. For example, millennials are 3 times likelier to order take-in food than their parents, simply because of the desire to protect their time and make life easier.
What’s more, the pandemic delivered a blow to the restaurant business. So while it may not be safe now to visit your favorite spot, food delivery is perhaps the only thing that can save the restaurant business from an imminent collapse. So, part of the restaurants arranged their own food delivery services, while others benefited from the third-party services.
Top food delivery apps: Uber Eats, DoorDash, GrubHub.

News apps

There’s not much to say here. 
In times of crisis, people are just eager to learn every little detail that can affect their lives.
Top news apps: The New York Times, Curio, Financial Times.

There’s always a silver lining

Sure, our vocabulary has been replenished with such doom-and-gloom words like “self-isolation”, “social distancing”, “pandemic”, “quarantine”, “lockdown”. But on the other hand, there are “online fitness”, “Zoom bars”, “Instagram master classes”. Not so bad, huh?
Why are mobile apps important? Mobile applications give us a lot, to the point that we can longer imagine leaving without them. Or at least, living comfortably enough. Apps also have several advantages in comparison with websites, depending on their purposes, the main ones being: 

  • adaptability for mobile devices
  • wider functionality
  • improved usability.

If you’re thinking about making an app of your own, focus on your target audience for your app to give you an advantage. We’ll help you with the rest, get in touch now.

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Written by Kate Shokurova

April 04, 2020

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