Many Internet companies posted record performance during the pandemic as consumers turned to apps and other cloud software to work, study, socialise and shop from home. But as vaccines roll out and restrictions relax, some of this unprecedented digital demand is fading.
Data from research firm Apptopia reveal how the superstar apps of the Covid-19 era are faring now in the US. Plus, stats from New Zealand, a country that reopened earlier, show what the future might hold for these services.
Here’s the main takeaway: Many well-known apps are losing ground, or usage has stabilised. Some behaviour is sticking, though, suggesting the pandemic will provide a more permanent boost for a few Internet companies.
Zoom Video Communications’ app has been so ubiquitous during the pandemic that it’s now a verb. Lately, though, workers complain of “Zoom fatigue”, and data from New Zealand is ominous. Usage has dropped in that country as employees and students return to offices and schools. Even in the US, where most offices remain virtual, Zoom use peaked in September. The company said recently it’s well positioned for strong growth.
Microsoft’s Teams communication software was another work-from-home hit last year. That service has seen mobile app usage decline, too, especially in New Zealand. (This data excludes Web users and some services are often accessed this way from company-issued laptops).
Other staples of the virtual workplace are here to stay, according to Apptopia data. DocuSign’s app, which lets you sign contracts and other documents digitally, has seen consistently high usage lately. The app has become a popular way to close property deals.
A central question during reopening is whether the appetite for ultra-convenience will continue. Food delivery apps, such as those from DoorDash and Instacart, have experienced continuously high usage in the US, even as Covid-19 cases declined in 2021. Amazon.com’s app is still growing strong, too.
Social media apps have seen a steady increase in usage over the course of the pandemic as more people connect with each other digitally, rather than in person. Facebook’s main mobile apps, WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook, collectively grew their US daily active user base by almost 40 million between January 2020 and February 2021.
Other social media apps have seen similar gains in the US. Google’s YouTube remains above pre-pandemic levels. Pinterest is consistently growing as more consumers turn to the app for inspiration and tutorials. Snap’s Snapchat app, which is popular with teenagers, saw user growth surge as schools shut. — Reported by Brody Ford, (c) 2021 Bloomberg LP