The Trend of App Usage during State of Emergency


The global pandemic of coronavirus has surely transformed people’s lives greatly. Since the number of infected people is particularly high in the United States, President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency on March 13th, leaving 80% of the Americans to go into quarantine. This led to a widespread economic impact; not only are people’s lives and behaviors constrained, but also the unemployment rate in the U.S. is at an all-time high.

From app usage trend data accumulated by the app analytics platform “App Ape”, changes in user behavior in the United States, where smartphone apps are more a living infrastructure for people than in Japan, are apparent. Since the declaration of emergency on March 13th, the app usages in the U.S. have increased rapidly. This became apparent from a survey regarding lifestyles of people who are transformed by the prolonged coronavirus.

Emergency Declaration has resulted in a historical increase in the use of communication apps

By comparing the average DAU of January 2020 before the impact of coronavirus and the average DAU after March 13th when Trump declared a state of emergency in the U.S., App Ape extracted apps that are particularly fast growing.
The apps which usage has increased rapidly compared to January are as follows.

The “video communication app,” which connects people with each other, has grown significantly due to physical restrictions imposed by the declaration of emergency.
The average DAU during the target period (March 13 to April 4) of the online meeting app “ZOOM”, which had the highest growth rate, increased 800% compared to January. It has set the highest record since App Ape began its survey. In addition, the app is ranked higher in both Appstore and Google Play store since the emergency declaration.

After launching in 2016 and becoming popular among young people, usage of online video chat “Houseparty” has increased by 207%, jumping to the single digit store ranking for the first time in several years.

The communication app “Marco Polo” launched in 2016 has also increased rapidly by 76%, indicating that the use of apps that allow multiple video chats has rapidly increased.

These statistics indicate that as long as people are engaged in social life, the need for human communication remains the same even if the direct contact between them is cut off. It is also apparent that communication through the app, such as dialogue with family and friends and online seminars, are becoming increasingly popular.

Increasing use of business communication tools

Due to the fact that people are unable to meet face-to-face physically, people’s work style has changed significantly.

The average DAU for the target period (March 13 to April 4) of Microsoft’s business communication tool “Microsoft Teams” surged 107% compared to January. As a matter of fact, App Ape scored the highest DAU on April 3rd since the survey began. The average DAU of “Slack” has also raised steadily.

Even in the United States, where online business communication was conducted on a daily basis due to the large land area, the increase in remote work is reflected in the use of apps greatly.

Education sector responds quickly

In an attempt to change the educational setting, schools have started to use apps more actively.
The average DAU during the target period (March 13 to April 4) of Google’s learning support application “Google Classroom” is 69% higher than the average DAU in January. The efforts to maintain academic ability through online learning are accelerating in the field. Similarly, school communications app “Remind” grew 59% and online learning app “ClassDojo” grew 55% as well.

Growing needs for gathering information

In terms of information gathering, the average DAU during the target period (March 13 to April 4) of the news application “SmartNews” in Japan increased 63% compared to the average DAU in January. In fact, it is ranked second in the US Google News & Magazines category ranking. In addition, it is safe to say that the growing use of “News Break”, which is ranked No.1 in its category, has led people to frequently watch coronavirus-related news. People became increasing active in collecting information using apps because they have limited access to information while staying indoors. The average DAU during the target period (March 13 to April 4) of the regional-specific SNS called “Nextdoor” increased by 49% compared to the average DAU in January.
There is an increasing movement in the U.S. to try to find out about local information and the safety of acquaintances while they are obligated to stay at homes.

Increased usage of fitness apps

The U.S. government allows outdoor activities, such as running, that are necessary to maintain good health. Accordingly, there has been changes in fitness app usage among the American people.
The average DAU during the target period (March 13 to April 4) of “Strava”, which main function is to record exercise, is 80% higher than the average DAU in January. It is apparent that increasing number of apps are now being used for exercises.

App data capture the changes in the world

The shift in app usage in the U.S. has shown that people are seeking to maintain communication, education, business and health through apps. In Japan, an “Emergency Declaration” was made on April 7th based on the Special Measures Law on Countermeasures against the New Coronavirus.
Companies can look ahead to the “post-corona world” by understanding the prevailing U.S. situation with data and preparing to protect the lives of businesses and individuals.

App Ape updates app data daily

App Ape is a SaaS for discovering tips for marketing and business measures from accumulated smartphone usage data.

You can always check the number of daily users (DAU), number of weekly users (WAU), number of monthly users (MAU), usage rate of each application by time of day, percentage by gender, number of startups per day, etc. from your PC or smartphone.

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