Times are a-changing – a deeper look into mobile app trends

Change - Just Ahead

The world is changing

From the COVID-19 global pandemic to the movements for social change, it’s clear that times are definitely changing. But this is not a blog about medical matters or social unrest. Instead, this is a blog for those of us who are carefully planning and building the tools and products of tomorrow.

Back in December 2019, our company was in the midst of our annual planning cycle, prophesizing with our pens our development and marketing plans for the year. Maybe you and your company went through something similar. Since then, things have changed.

With people being directed to stay home because of COVID-19, there has been an impact on how we work. There has been explosive growth in the daily usage (adoption) of remote communication, education, collaboration and entertainment technologies, specifically we’ve seen a huge increase in downloads and usage of mobile apps.

According to data from Apptopia, there has been an unprecedented growth in downloads of mobile apps since stay-at-home orders were issued globally.

Percentage of change in average daily downloads statistics

Figure 1- % Growth in Average Daily Downloads for 3 selected days for 3 different applications (data source: Apptopia)

Figure 1 shows the relative growth in mobile downloads as compared to the average number of downloads at the start of the year. For example, Zoom experienced a growth rate topping 5400% percent over three months, which is no surprise to anyone.

But how about going beyond the downloads, looking into daily usage trends?  Has COVID-19 encouraged people to use mobile apps more often?

The article Weekly Time Spent in Apps Grows 20% Year Over Year as People Hunker Down at Home from the App Annie team validates that, citing a 20% year over year growth for the time spent in both gaming and non-gaming mobile applications for Q1 2020. The same study cited respective growths of weekly hours spent in non-gaming apps for the United States (10%), Italy (30%) and the United Kingdom (5%) when comparing Q1 2020 data to Q4 2019.

But not all apps are being used equally. As you would expect, the growth in mobile app usage is not universal. For example, sports news apps and travel apps have seen significant drops in usage, but overall the trend is clear: There is explosive growth in mobile app usage, and we can expect the reverberations from this shift to continue.

Back in December 2019, we couldn’t have foreseen this, but now that data proves what we’ve all been thinking: the times are a-changing. The demand for mobile apps is only going to increase, and as the people building the solutions of the future, shouldn’t we?

It’s obvious that the pandemic has seen most of us move to a more virtual way of living, and mobile apps play a huge part in facilitating that. However, with the increase in downloads and usage, there have unfortunately been an increase in attacks against remote workers and mobile apps. We all have a role to play in online safety and shutting down hackers, and we’ll explore this further in my next blog.

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