For app economy, COVID-19 lockdown brings increased time spent and downloads: AppAnnie

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By: Tech Desk | New Delhi |

Updated: April 13, 2020 3:35:23 pm


App economy sees a boost thanks to COVID-19 lockdown. (Image via Getty Images)

The global lockdowns in light of the coronavirus pandemic have proved to be a boon for the app economy as people across the world are spending more time on their phones. App downloads and consumer spending also increased during the first quarter of 2020, according to the latest report by analytics firm AppAnnie.

Time spent on mobiles rises across countries

AppAnnie’s data shows time spent on mobiles has grown massively, especially in countries hit by the pandemic. In China, where the outbreak began, the daily time spent on mobile grew 30 percent to 5 hours per day on average from 2019. Italy, which was the next most affected market, had the second highest jump at 11 percent growth in time spent.

AppAnnie, AppAnnie Q1 data, AppAnnie data on COVID-19, COVID-19 impact on apps, Apps to download, Best apps to download The average weekly time spent on apps has grown by 20 per cent yearly in the first quarter of 2020. (Chart source: AppAnnie)

Italy saw time spent on apps grow by 30 percent in March 2020, compared to the previous quarter. France, Germany, and the US saw 15 percent, 10 percent and 10 percent growth respectively for time spent on apps. Globally, the average weekly time spent  on apps and games on Android phones grew 20 percent year-over-year in the first quarter.

Spike in downloads

Consumers downloaded 22.5 billion new apps on the Google Play Store, representing a 5 percent yearly jump. On iOS, downloads grew 15 percent year-over-year with 9 billion new downloads for the quarter. While on iOS’ App Store non-gaming apps dominated the downloads at 65 percent, on Google Play they accounted for 55 percent of all downloads. Keep in mind these numbers are for all of the first quarter of 2020, which includes January, February and March.

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In terms of categories, Games, Tools and Entertainment were the leading categories on Google PLay. Upcoming categories which saw strong growth in downloads were Health&Fitness (40 percent), Education (35 percent) and Business (30 percent). This is not surprising given users are relying on such apps during the lockdown. Education has moved online in many parts of the world, and work from home policies means users would turn to business apps on their phones as well.

AppAnnie, AppAnnie Q1 data, AppAnnie data on COVID-19, COVID-19 impact on apps, Apps to download, Best apps to download The Avg weekly hours spent on non-gaming apps continued to rise. (Chart source: AppAnnie)

The report notes that conferencing and collaboration tools such as ZOOM, Google’s Hangouts Meet, and Microsoft Teams have seen strong adoption as well.

For Google Play, India and Brazil were the two largest markets by downloads in the first quarter. India is the world’s second largest smartphone market and Android dominates. India has been in a lockdown since March 25, though some districts had implemented a lockdown earlier in mid-March.

Also read: Amazon Prime Now to shut down in India soon: What users should do now?  How to optimise streaming on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar and YouTube

On iOS, the largest categories by downloads were Games, Photo and Video and Entertainment with Games driving a bulk of the downloads. Apple’s iOS ecosystem also saw similar trends to Android, as apps in the Education, Business and Health and Fitness saw double digit growth at 40%, 35% and 30% respectively. China and the United States were the two largest markets by downloads for iOS.

AppAnnie, AppAnnie Q1 data, AppAnnie data on COVID-19, COVID-19 impact on apps, Apps to download, Best apps to download Worldwide consumer spending on apps based on store. (Chart source: AppAnnie)

Consumer spending on apps

For iOS, consumer spending grew by 5 percent yearly to $15 billion. Google Play saw 5 percent yearly increase on spending to $8.3 billion. On iOS, non-gaming apps accounted for 35 percent of consumer spend, but on Google Play this was lower at 15 percent, which means a majority of spending was still for gaming related apps.

The United States and China were the biggest contributors to consumer spend on iOS. The categories which had the largest consumer spend on iOS were Games, Entertainment and Photo and Video. According to AppAnnie, one reason why the Photo and Video category has seen such strong growth is due to the rise of TikTok.

AppAnnie, AppAnnie Q1 data, AppAnnie data on COVID-19, COVID-19 impact on apps, Apps to download, Best apps to download Worldwide app downloads by store. (Chart source: AppAnnie)

On Google Play, the US, Japan, and South Korea were the three largest markets in terms of consumer spend. Games, Social and Entertainment were the largest categories by consumer spend.

The big winners in the app department

Growth in the Entertainment category was driven by Disney+ and Twitch, according to AppAnnie. Disney+ recently launched in Europe and in India as well and AppAnnie expects the growth to continue for the service. It saw about 5 million downloads across the seven new European markets including the United Kingdom and Germany, on the first day.

ZOOM Cloud Meetings is another big winner, which is not surprising at all, given how the video calling service has seen its popularity soar. The Zoom is now the top ranked business app by iPhone daily downloads in 141 markets. In Q4, 2019, it was number one in just one market.

Another app which is a big winner is Houseparty. In the week starting March 15th, Houseparty downloads globally grew 735x from the week prior, according to their data.

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