Down Trending Apps During COVID-19 Pandemic in USA

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Outdoor human activities have been severely restricted ever since the pandemic gripped the world. People have had to restrain themselves to such a degree that what is usually considered common is no longer the norm; whether it is traveling abroad, or utilizing public transportation, or even going to the cinemas during the weekends.

These real world scenarios are often reflected in their respective app usage behavior. Sorted out US data from App Ape shows down trending apps in the month of May where some of those apps correlate conspicuously to current tendencies of users in the United States.

Airline Industry

To control the spread of the virus, governments around the world had to impose travel restrictions. Many countries have implemented checks and balances to its borders by banning all international passenger airline routes and some countries have even stopped domestic air travel (PhuketNews).

These measure have led to lower frequency of flights in the air, in any given day throughout the world, which directly translated to lower revenue to the Airline Industry. In fact, only 7% of air traffic was recorded this year compared to last year’s air traffic during the same time (SimpleFlying).

However, several airline companies have responded to this dire situation by reducing ticket fares to combat downturn in the civil aviation industry. But, drastic reduction in the passenger occupancy per flight has led airlines to ground their flights for much longer than imagined.

This emergent behavior can be traced to Spirit Airlines App on android. The graph taken from App Ape shows the downward trend leading to loss of majority of the apps’ monthly active users within the matter of few months.

Keeping flights grounded for longer periods of time costs more in terms of airport fees, parking lot space, maintenance and unproductive employment hours. Since there is no longer demand for flying to popular destinations, and to avoid bankruptcy, many passenger airlines are now converted to transport cargo through minor modifications made to its main cabin area (NewYorkTimes).

Public Transportation

Similarly, the shift in people’s behavior of reducing outdoor activities has also affected app usage patterns in public transportation category. For example, NJ transit, an app which serves as a travel guide to Philadelphia and New York and as a booking platform for bus, rail and light rail services to these areas for residents living in New Jersey, has seen dramatic decline in its user base.

However, Many bus routes were closed due to steady rise in the number of cases of COVID-19 in the state of New York. “The company suspended service in March when daily ridership dropped from 7,000 a day to 200 as executive orders in New Jersey and New York forced businesses deemed non-essential to close” (NewJersey101.5). And that closure of several important routes connecting these two areas has led to NJ Transit loss in ridership of at least 90% (NewJersey101.5).

This reduction in ridership corresponds directly with the loss of user base of NJ Transit app as well. As seen from the above graph, the monthly active users (MAU) have reduced to almost negligible due to these measures.

Film Industry

The film industry and movie theaters have also suffered from lockdown as many of the movies that were scheduled to be released earlier this year were either postponed or were released immediately onto video streaming platforms(TheVerge). Hollywood film productions have been stalled temporarily due to concerns of coronavirus, further delaying any movie releases throughout this year (Firstpost).

This abrupt change has led movie theaters with no shows resulting in zero occupancy rate per screen. In fact, the situation has only worsened as people slowly stopped showing up to the their nearby theaters even after the stay-at-home orders have eased out (Variety).

The Regal movie ticket app shows a similar downward trend that correlated with the timeline of already struggling fait of movie theaters which had their final nail in the coffin with the onset of events occurring during the lockdown (CNBC). The app has lost nearly all of its monthly active users rendering it useless for the foreseeable future.

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