From romance to games: Apps that exploded during the pandemic
In 2020, staying at home was not a trendy thing to do – it was mandatory. As a result of government-issued lockdowns stemming from the ongoing global pandemic, everyone’s lives drastically changed. Socialising, exercising, shopping and entertainment all witnessed a definite move to the digital sphere. Thus, amidst such a substantial societal change, mobile apps emerged as essential tools that helped many get through these trying times.
Once the Covid-19 virus went global, at the start of the second quarter of 2020, app downloads hit an all-time high of 35 billion. The Apple store marked a record 218 billion downloads in 2020, as consumer spending reached $143 billion. App Annie claims that this sector noticed a 7% year-over-year growth. The types of software users chose to install on their phones varied, ranging from romance apps to software created by non UK casino sites. Here’s an idea of what went on.
Living through a pandemic has forced people to neglect physical interaction in favour of the virtual variety. Given that dating apps like Bumble, Tinder and OkCupid do not require physical presence to meet new people, they have been on the frontlines of battling loneliness. Per Forbes, Match Group property OkCupid noted a 700% rise in hookups between March and May of 2020, while competitor Bumble marked a 70% increase in calls. However, those stats pale compared to Tinder hitting the milestone of three billion swipes in a single day in March last year.
These partner-finding apps are helping morph pockets of free time and moments of loneliness into connection-building opportunities. That is evident in the data that shows that chats, on average, increased 32% compared with usage before the pandemic began.
Though mobile games were already hitting benchmark after benchmark, even before the lockdown began in March of 2020, stay-at-home measures seemed to inject this entertainment sector with rocket fuel. According to marketing company AppsFlyer, smartphone game apps jumped 45% last year, crushing the impressive 32% growth from the year prior. The company’s report claims that one of the main reasons this occurred was the prevalence of ads, as non-organic installs increased by 69%.
What is unique about mobile games is their diversity, which allows them to appeal to broader demographics. Newzoo believes that as many as 40% of smartphone gamers are women, a number that drastically differs from PC and console users. It is worth noting that the pandemic also ignited a social gaming revolution. Products such as PokerFace offer an inexpensive escape from reality, helping ease social distancing by allowing people to play games using a video chat option and staying social from home.
The online gaming industry that is not smartphone-first was doing just fine before the pandemic hit. However, once the novel Covid-19 virus started to spread, online activity started to surge globally. With in-person venues closed, even for higher risk games countries began introducing laxer legislation to regulate virtual activity, trying to create a new tax revenue stream to plug budget holes.
Because of their online nature, games are developed and published all over the world, and can be found on various listing websites. Depending on the topic, they range from sports collections to RPGs and the varied range of diversions available on sites such as non-gamstop-casinos.com. In April, a leading consultancy firm came out with a report claiming that the global online gaming market would hit a value of over $250 billion by 2027.
Movie/TV show streaming
Pre-2020, there was a lot of talk about the streaming bubble soon bursting. Experts believe that market fragmentation will inevitably lead to this, as consumers will have too much choice. However, the pandemic seems to have postponed such a prognosis as streaming services are doing better than ever. Netflix recently announced that their 2021 content budget is $17 billion, while Disney+ revealed that they aim to up theirs to $9 billion by 2024.
Recent studies show that Americans spent 44% more time streaming media in 2020 than in 2019, and UK residents spent 40% of their waking hours in front of a screen in the second quarter of 2020. This obsession with watching video entertainment resulted in the streaming services market growing by 37%, with Disney attaining the most substantial number of new subscribers. Their Disney+ platform blew away all expectations by gathering 73 million users in the first year of its existence. It now is creeping close to 95 million, though Netflix still dominates with over 207 million paid subscribers. Its streaming app also attained the most downloads in 2020 at 11.9 million. Hulu and YouTube trailed behind with 8 million apiece.
During this crisis, similar to playing casino games, many people have gravitated toward stock trading software as a source of entertainment and monetary gain. These apps are one of the outlying success stories to emerge from the pandemic. As the stock market began to decline, the gamification and simplicity of trading apps attracted new categories of investors. Mobile platforms such as Fidelity, Merrill Edge, Interactive Brokers, E*Trade, and TD Ameritrade all noticed a significant rise in users.
However, the sphere’s juggernaut is undoubtedly the California-based Robinhood Markets, whose app, Robinhood, has amassed over 13 million user accounts. It is the leader when it comes to zero-commission trading, allowing users to get up running in a matter of seconds.
Sadly, in recent months these apps have come under scrutiny for restricting specific trades, the events greatly angering many of their users. Therefore, if the US Congress reprimands them for these actions, their popularity might dwindle. However, due to finance becoming increasingly digital, it is unlikely that these pieces of software are going anywhere.
Today, over 50% of Internet traffic originates from mobile phones. Desktop computers have primarily shifted to becoming work tools; smartphones are the devices most prefer to use in their leisure time, as communication, research, and entertainment centres all in one portable place. So it should come as no surprise that when most people could not leave their homes, smartphone users looked for ways to get the most out of their devices. From sites not on GamStop to partner-finding apps, now, there is software for multiple facets of life, and there are endless options on Google Play or in the Apple store to make life simpler and more fun-filled.
The editorial unit