2020 was the Year of Coronavirus

While the world was dealing with lockdown measures and physical distancing, consumers turned to mobile apps for everyday needs while discovering new apps to help with things that used to occur in person.

People who work from home now use mobile apps for video conferencing and communicating on the job. Students use mobile apps to attend online classes. People watch more entertainment through streaming services and app-based games. On-demand mobile apps are used to order food, groceries, vegetables, medicines, and an array of other items that can be safely left at the doorstep. Before the pandemic the use of mobile apps was an option for many, now it has become a necessity.

Fifty-seven percent of all digital media usage comes from mobile apps. The largest categories include gaming, social, and entertainment use. Non-gaming apps were 35% of the spend on iOS and 15% of the spend on Google Play. The demand for goods and services has increased causing a skyrocketing growth in on-demand apps.

But consumers aren’t just launching apps they already have installed on their phones — they’re also downloading new ones. In the second quarter, consumers downloaded nearly 35 billion new apps, an all-time high. With record downloads and usage, consumer spending also grew significantly as a result, particularly among streaming video services.

Work-related Mobile Apps

While much of the activity taking place on mobile devices during the pandemic is related to having fun—like watching videos or playing games, for example—several of the top apps in the quarter were work-related. On a worldwide scale, workers have had to adapt to working remotely while maintaining efficient communication, productivity, and rapport with colleagues and clients. This has also given workplace app developers new challenges, optimizing features for a workforce that is more reliant on technology than ever before.

Teleconferencing has become a critical way for many workers to host meetings, leading to several opportunities for workplace apps to innovate. The Zoom app’s number of daily users spiked to 200 million in March—up from 10 million in December of 2019. It became increasingly popular as users looked for a communications tool that was free, easy to use, and immediately accessible to new users. Participants can join the same call with up to 49 others and global meetings can have up to 1,000 participants.

Apps take it well past video calls and virtual meetings with comprehensive communication platforms used throughout the workday. Platforms like Microsoft Teams and Slack helped manage private messaging and remote communication. Companies also needed ways to schedule those meetings and manage workloads, tasks, and collaboration. Apps that offer this type of service include Asana, Basecamp, and Trello.

Good Eats Mobile Apps

Restaurants were able to widen their reach and found guests where they were by partnering with delivery apps offering curbside pick-up or take-out operations. Contactless food pick-up was suddenly the norm and consumers flocked to DoorDash and Instacart delivery for groceries. Apps in this case were able to help businesses keep sales up while giving customers the ability to still shop with them.

There’s another side of this story though. On-demand meal delivery applications helped many small and medium restaurants stay in business and keep the staff during the most trying times. Some local restaurant owners admit that on-demand apps helped them stay afloat. Despite controversies around capped commissions, hefty losses, and work conditions for delivery couriers in this niche, the third-party delivery model is said to gain momentum in 2021 and beyond.

Health and Safety Mobile Apps

Many companies have developed apps to manage health and safety measures. For example, a workplace app that can be used to book meeting rooms may now be able to help workers keep to COVID-19 restrictions. Safe distancing apps also enable users to calculate an occupancy plan based on an office’s furniture layout. They can also be used to signal when areas are blocked off and regularly update floorplans. This allows companies to quickly adapt to new restrictions and ensure that employees are abiding by safety guidelines. Other health institutions launched apps to track the spread of COVID-19 and even apps to allow patients to receive healthcare remotely.

As the pandemic is slowing down thanks to an increased vaccination rate and growing natural immunity, governments and private companies are talking more about post-pandemic applications we’ll need to revive travel and social life and ensure public safety. Vaccine/health passports, C19 wallets with test results, and similar applications are on the radar of governments, large tech companies, and startups.

Fitness Mobile Apps

Home fitness apps have been shaping our lives—and our abs—long before COVID-19, but their popularity has truly surged during these difficult times. During the lockdown, gyms and fitness studios were left with no other choice than to increase their digital presence. Many started offering virtual classes, allowing members to access services from the comfort of their own homes.

Mental Health Mobile Apps

Digital Health Trends showed a 200% increase in mental health app downloads in 2020. Psychologists say this is good news because these types of apps can lead users to therapy and enhance treatment. Addressing mental health issues early can prevent potential problems down the line. These tools can be a way to develop daily coping skills and self-care habits. It is important to know how a mobile app is going to be helpful before relying on it for self-care. As always, consult a physician or psychologist before altering your daily routine.

Mobile Shopping

Mobile shopping became one of the top mobile apps categories during COVID-19 for obvious reasons. COVID-19 made offline shopping difficult, at times impossible, uncomfortable, and even frightening for some people.

To be sure, even before the pandemic, the brick-and-mortar model was already on the edge in such sectors as electronics and household goods. Quarantine and social distancing measures caused the surge in adoption of online shopping across these and, basically, any other sector in the industry, from groceries to home improvement supplies.

Web platforms are responsible for the majority of online shopping, but mobile applications get their share. Apps by Amazon, one of the biggest retailers of all time, earned a precious place among the top 10 apps Americans couldn’t live without in 2020 along with Google Maps, Chrome, and social media apps.

In conclusion

Mobile is a reflection of our lives—what is important to us at that moment, what is helping us get through the day, and what is connecting us to other people and the world at large. It allows us to get the information and services we need in stressful times right at our fingertips—whether that is the ability to continue working, distraction and entertainment, or knowledge on how to do our part and stay healthy, informed global citizens.

We’ve worked with every type of business, from retail to industrial, healthcare, and education, designing specific tools that simplify your business processes, eliminate waste, organize data, identify production bottlenecks, and ultimately improve your bottom line. Talk to us about the endless possibilities we can create especially for your company.