We have seen a significant increase in mobile usage habits in 2020-21, where most businesses were forced to adapt to more modern applications, processes, and operations. The pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation of Apps and is the most crucial product for engaging customers and growing your business online.
Firstly, here are a few facts regarding the 2020 App market:
- $143 Billion Consumer Spend on Apps.
- 3.5 Trillion hours spent on Apps.
- 218 Billion App Downloads.
As you can see, Apps have done remarkably well during the pandemic. If you weren’t considering it before, it is definitely time to adapt and start utilising this tech inside your own businesses. We will look at 10 of the most popular applications in different app categories that have done pretty well in adapting to the change, or was conceived out of the pandemic. But first, let us see how mobile usage has evolved over time.
Across the pond, the average American watches 3.7 hours of live TV a day, whereas they spent 4 hours on their mobile device in Q2 2020. The weighted average among all countries analysed surpassed 4 hours 10 minutes during the pandemic — up 20% from 2019.
In 2020 there was a substantial increase in health apps that have been leveraged to combat the spread of Covid-19. Although the majority of these apps were provided by governments or national authorities, such as the “Track and Trace App”, they had an essential role in the public health crisis management. By involving most of the population in self-tracking their personal health and providing them with the technology to self-assess, the role of these apps were deemed to be the key driver for a participatory approach to prevent the spread of Covid-19. These apps have been a huge positive in curtailing the spread of the virus, but as these apps have built positive systems for contact tracing, identifying and notifying all those who have been in contact with a carrier, some of these apps, such as China’s system has been also collecting invasive data, including citizens’ ID, location (this is probably essential for all tracing apps to collect this data, but to what extent), and even online payment history so that they can track if they have broken quarantine rules. They have also recently proposed the app that was introduced as part of the pandemic response will now be a permanent app for China’s population to track an individual’s health status and score them out of 100 based on their medical records, physical test results, levels of activity and lifestyle choices such as smoking. This decision comes with some serious privacy issues, and for China, this has turned into a means of social control, which does sound like the impending dystopian future of George Orwell’s novel, “1984”.
During the pandemic, Mobile and Fitness Apps were the leading mobile apps downloaded the most in 2020. You have probably been using your phone a lot more lately, especially when the majority of the population is still working from home. Fitness apps have been very useful, apps like Nike Training Club have customised workouts, choose which muscle groups to focus on, and choose workouts based on your time availability, for instance when you might only have 20 minutes before a meeting, or can go by the amount of equipment that you might have to work out with if any. There are other extremely useful fitness apps such as My Fitness Pal, with 3.9 million installs in 2020, this app helps you understand what your calorie intake looks like. You can track your food very easily and see what you are eating, and maybe see what is wrong with your daily intake to turn it around. Another great feature in My Fitness Pal is that they have a very significant library of different foods within its search function, and has gone far enough to literally include restaurants and grocery stores using barcodes, so you can basically find whatever it is that you will need to get you back on track (see what I did there).
Privacy & Security Apps
Security Network and Virtual Privacy Networks apps such as NordVPN are recently becoming very mainstream to have on your mobile devices. Over 480 million VPN’s (Virtual Privacy Networks) have been downloaded, which is 54% higher than the previous year, approaching 1 billion total VPN downloads in just three years. VPN’s are fast becoming part of the mainstream and are now an essential anti-censorship and privacy tool for every mobile user in the world. In recent news, more than 800 suspected criminals were arrested after being tricked into using an FBI encrypted messaging app. The app in question was ANOM, which ensnared alleged drug syndicates, contract killers, and weapons dealings in Sydney to communicate with each other, which was controlled by the FBI, which circulated and grew in popularity among criminals in high profile crime. This app has helped fight against encrypted criminal activity and has recently been removed from app stores and used as evidence.
There are also many alert apps for keeping women safe, including live location tracking, reaching security forces with a warning button, listing the users’ communication information and keeping them in contact with them, and the color of a location’s security level.
Education & Tutorial Apps
The pandemic reshaped the entire education system in 2020 and transformed the education systems into online tutorial platforms. Over 1.3 billion children globally were out of the classroom and teaching was undertaken remotely.
The best part about online tutorial apps is that it brings teachers and students together very easily. Apps like SkillShare, Udemy, and Coursera have hundreds of educational videos that focus on interaction rather than lecturing, with the primary goal of learning by completing a course. Gamification comes into play, tricking the student into learning with new ways of learning and interacting within the course.
Virtual Traveling Apps
The current pandemic prevented international and domestic travel and trips. Virtual travel apps and virtual reality technologies are straightforward, and you can make realistic virtual tours such as Everest VR, which lets you experience what it feels like to virtually climb Mount Everest using the Oculus headset, although virtual devices can also be compatible with mobile devices. Virtual tour apps like these can bring travelers together, like Google Expeditions, which is an immersive learning and teaching tool that lets you go on VR trips or explore Augmented Reality (AR) objects. Also, visiting museums has become very popular during the 2020 pandemic. During the pandemic process in 2021, we want to worry about our loved ones and give gifts on special occasions even when we are away from them. Gift delivery practices greatly alleviate the difficulties that countries pose due to restrictions. Such apps seem to be a mobile app trend for a few more years and we are consistently looking for ways to immerse ourselves in this new normal.
During the pandemic process in 2020, in order to stay safe and indoors, most people resorted to takeaways. Takeaway orders on JustEat, which is an app that allows you to search for food at the restaurants in your local area, had surged over 79% in the first quarter of 2020, with 63.8 million orders in Britain when we were in lockdown.
The App That Went Viral
A new trend has been going viral over Snapchat, TikTok and Instagram. This app is turning selfies into Pixar caricatures. The app is called Voila AI Artist, it uses AI to manipulate photos into one of four modes with filters. It has been around for a while but has recently added new features that have proven to be hugely popular. Since its launch, it has had over 215 million Snapchat users engage with the new Cartoon 3D Style lens, and the lens has been viewed more than 1.7 billion times.