How the COVID-19 Outbreak Influenced Mobile App Industry?

covid 19 outbreak
April 9, 2020

If you live on this earth then by this time you must be aware of the term “Novel Coronavirus” or “COVID-19”. This viral disease has spread rapidly across the globe and today, all the continents are experiencing its ill-effect in one way or the other. In order to stop the pandemic from spreading more, just like other countries India has gone under lockdown. Except for the essential services, everything has been shut down to minimize the movement of people in any manner.

The world economy has fallen hard and its impact has started to affect the lives of people. There has been a tremendous effect of the virus outbreak on different industries spread around the world. Here, in specific, we will be looking into them through the spectrum of mobile apps.

Mobile apps play a major role in the daily lives of people but with things taking a U-turn altogether, new trends are seen to be emerging.

How??? What???

Strict health measures have been issued by the WHO and other supporting organizations to nullify the physical contact between people and improve self-hygiene in the current COVID-19 outbreak scenario. Along with that, terms like ‘social distancing’, ‘quarantine’, and ‘isolation’ have become very much part of our world.

Whether like it or not, people around the globe are now confined within the four walls of their homes. Fear, stress, anxiety, boredom, impatience, anger, annoyance, etc. are few of the feelings that people are now experiencing during their confinement. So for all good reasons, people across the globe have turned towards mobile apps to connect with each other and yes, to stay (in)sane.

While tracking the mobile apps you need to consider two aspects, which are download and usage. With more and more hours spend at home, people are now inclined towards using certain apps that are related to gaming, business, social media, editing, fitness, etc. While on the other side, the app for food delivery, cab booking, and online shopping have been badly affected. In short, COVID-19 is said to have a relevant influence on the mobile app industry and by following the same you will be able to get some meaningful insights.

Communication apps see a surge in usage

Once a complete lockdown was declared in India, people found solace in online communication to stay connected with others. It helped them to be in connection with their friends, family, and co-workers. With work from home becoming a trend, a number of video calling apps have become helpful in connecting teams. Students are now attending online classes by using such video calling apps. In short, such apps have turned out to be quite popular these days.

Zoom which was lost in the crowd once has shot to popularity in a night! If you check the Play Store and App Store, you will see that it is on top of the list of the apps. As per the report of Apptopia, there was a 300 percent increase in the daily usage of Zoom once the lockdown began. Compared to the last few years, there has been a tremendous surge in the daily active users and monthly active users from the end of December and it has been directly linked to the outbreak of COVID-19.

  • WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger

Facebook and WhatsApp have now seen a 40% surge in their usage compared to the 27% rise in the early days of COVID-19 spread as more people are now staying indoors. Compared to the normal numbers, the voice and video calls over WhatsApp have increased drastically in the countries that have been affected by the pandemic. Supporting this number is the report of CNET and according to that 70% more people are now using Facebook Messenger to conduct group video calls and are spending double the amount of time on it now.

  • Skype

Skype, from Microsoft, was another application to see a surge in usage after the COVID-19 outbreak. Microsoft has announced that it saw a 70% increase in app usage in the month of March. Compared to the earlier month, Skype calling minutes has increased by 220 percent.

Gaming apps have turned the best alternatives

Lockdown has forced people to spend their days within the boundaries of their homes and so they are in search of alternatives that can help them beat boredom. With China becoming the epicenter of Coronavirus disease 2019, more people moved into quarantine there. To pass their time, around 22 million mobile gaming applications were downloaded.

With things taking the same turn in India within a span of a couple of months, gaming apps became popular here too. People were seen spending their time on gaming portals and a 30% increase in traffic was seen in the case of WinZO which hosted a variety of games like bubble shooter, cricket, carom, etc. Moreover, the company even offers free games to the users for the first time, seeing the tremendous response in such isolation days.

Mobile Premier League (MPL) is another popular platform that saw a rise in the daily user count by 400%.

All such attention to the sites has helped them gain new business opportunities and attract investors with the same.

Brands use apps to deliver the essentials in the best possible way

Just a few days back, two big names – Uber and BigBasket entered into a partnership to deliver groceries and other essentials to the people. The business-to-business partnership has been established in an arrangement where BigBasket will arrange the essentials while the drivers of Uber will ensure to complete the last-minute delivery. In the first phase, the service has been brought to four cities namely Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Noida, and Chandigarh.

Uber is even planning to get into such kind of arrangement with other eCommerce businesses. In this arrangement Uber is not charging any commission from the businesses, rather passing it to the drivers. With people having a hard time buying essentials and groceries, such a step can go a long way in ensuring successful lockdown and reducing crowd at places.

Similarly, Domino’s Pizza has come into partnership with ITC foods. So the users can easily place their order for essentials over the Domino’s app and its delivery partners will deliver the items to the customers. At the initial stage, the service has been made available in Hyderabad, Noida, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Chennai.

eCommerce businesses apps taking a back seat

In the early days of the pandemic, many eCommerce businesses saw a surge in customer buying. People reacted with panic buying due to anxiety and thinking about the items getting out of stock. They went ahead and bought items in bulk so as to survive the outbreak without having to step outside. Soon eCommerce businesses too stopped taking up new orders and only the essential items that were pre-ordered were delivered. Issues with stock, logistics, delivery partners, lockdown measures, and etc. altogether caused delays in deliveries. eCommerce giants in India like Amazon India, Flipkart, and BigBasket even temporarily suspended their services keeping the current scenario in mind. As per the report of Forrester, the eCommerce industry in India is said to have faced a loss of $400 million in just the first week of lockdown.

To keep the economy floating and deliver the essentials to the customers, Amazon and Flipkart started to take the orders for essential items. Even Grofers and BigBasket are taking up orders, but it is limited to 30-40% of their capacity as they don’t have enough staff to run the show.

As per a senior analyst at Forrester, Satish Meena, 50% of eCommerce sales is contributed by fashion stores and smartphones. With the economy going down and more jobs dwindling in air, there will be no quick demand seen in this section of the industry.

Video streaming apps comes to rescue in isolation

With people living isolated lives within their homes, entertainment becomes all the more important to ward off negative thoughts and boredom. With no more live shows and games around, watching movies and other TV entertainment proves to be the only effective solution. As per the report of Statista which was conducted for a weekend in March 2020 (13-14), there has been a rise in the use of video streaming apps compared to normal days. Austria topped the graph with a 44% surge followed by Spain with 42%. With the US, yet to experience the heavy blow of COVID-19, it showed a surge of only 7.5% amid the fear and confusion.

People have started to go for video streaming websites like Netflix, Prime Videos, HBO, Apple TV, Hotstar, and others to make the lockdown days better. Keeping the increased user demand in mind, Netflix and others have suspended their HD streaming. Some have even come up with discounted plans and even free streaming sessions to attract the crowd.

Still, they are in fear too seeing the advancement of the COVID-19 outbreak. Such a new arrangement can disrupt their current business model and the subscription charges can cause more fall-outs in the future due to the declining economy. Things may become hard for them to survive if the situation fails to improve. For the time being, Netflix is experiencing exponential viewership rates but, it will take time for it to be converted into financial benefits.

The tourism sector comes to a standstill and so are the apps!

One of the heavily affected industries around the world in this time of pandemic is travel and tourism. With the fear of infection spreading and lockdown across the states, all that people want is to stay at home. Again, many of the tourist attractions have been locked by the authorities. These things together have impacted the complete economy coming from this sector.

Today, survival is the prime necessity and people are not interested in visiting travel apps to book holidays. With quarantine and social distancing becoming the norm, staying at home safe is what people are doing. Again, with no decline in the number of COVID-19 new cases, people have no plans to go on vacation anytime soon. With travel attractions closed, flights, trains, and buses no more working, hotels no more taking any bookings, restaurants no more entertaining customers – several jobs have been affected apart from the witnessed business loss.

Final thoughts

It is evident that not all businesses are doing well. Some have managed to go against the tide and survive while there are others, who could not find a ground for themselves. Still, with businesses at standstill, it can be the best time for one planning to invest in mobile app development. Understanding the current business scenario, we at Silicon IT Hub offer you incentives that you can use to build your ideal business app. So get in touch with us if you wish to avail of our mobile app development service with benefits.

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