App popularity is an often researched term as of recently, thanks in no small part to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Read our extensive report below.

App Popularity During Coronavirus: Which Apps Soared & Which Merely Survived?

The COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc across economies, industries, sectors, and businesses worldwide. Traditional ways of living and functioning professionally that we used to take for granted became impossible amid physical distancing rules and lockdown measures. Technology stepped in to assist humans in this new situation, with app popularity skyrocketing as a means of surviving and staying safe.

Various applications made the transition into virtual living more manageable. For example, the process of playing casino games on your phone is effortless nowadays. Looking into app popularity and usage statistics provides invaluable insights into how the economy adapts to survive and how people use technology to satisfy their needs. Check out the following report detailing which apps helped users fight through the COVID-19 pandemic.

App Popularity In The Year Of The Pandemic

The global economy proved remarkably resilient despite COVID-19’s enormous impact and devastating consequences. Among the various exciting trends that became evident during the pandemic, three are particularly interesting. 

When it comes to app popularity, projections indicate that the first of three application categories include apps that will rebound once things start to normalize. These applications have slowed down in terms of usage due to various restricted activities and other realities. The second category includes apps that have resisted slowing down and continued to function normally. The third and most exciting app category consists of those whose usage has skyrocketed during the pandemic.

Let’s begin by observing app popularity among applications that thrived despite the coronavirus. Examples include:

  • Zoom
  • Youtube
  • Netflix
  • Disney+
  • Pinterest.


According to AppAnnie, Zoom experienced an enormous jump in downloads and usage to 200+ million daily participants compared to December 2019, when it barely supported 10 million. Since the pandemic’s onset, Zoom’s global user base grew by 300%. Compared to the end of 2019, this application stormed 141 different markets to become the most downloaded iPhone business app in less than a month.

Additionally, data from TrustRadius and Inmobi reveals that North American users contributed to a 627% increase in downloads of online conference and video chat apps. Further, the number of daily active users of such apps also rose by 121%. In March 2020, the downloads of JoinMe, GoToMeeting, and Skype for Business apps went up by 43%, 85%, and 66%, respectively.


Entertainment and media applications recorded some of the less surprising usage boosts. Thanks to mobile apps taking on new prominence, countless consumers chose to occupy their free time with television apps and streaming media services. Inmobi data shows that music apps recorded 21% more usage in April 2020, with entertainment apps saw 25% more use than before the pandemic.

Among the most targeted consumer categories for marketers, the highly desirable 18-25 year-olds increased their entertainment spending by 18% and consumed 54% more televisions streaming. 

Courtesy of data from Reuters, the Deccan Herald, and Inmobi, apps like YouTube, Netflix, and Disney+ noted similar usage boosts. For example, YouTube became the top streaming app in early 2020, thanks to $110 million in-app purchases. Netflix similarly revealed 59+ million installs in Q12020 alone and a 55% app download increase in late March. This month also proved entertainment-friendly to Disney+, with the service reporting a 46% rise in week-over-week installs mid-month. 


Social Media Today reports that Pinterest is among the social networks that experienced significant rises in app popularity. According to this source, Pinterest recorded a 30% click-through rise year-over-year, along with a 43% pinboard creation boost and a 60% search increase.

This social media network and app focuses on personalized idea catalogs. When observing apps’ popularity and usage levels, it is evident that Pinterest experienced record-breaking saved media and images and searches. The most significant content searches and saves include food recipes, homeschooling, entertainment, board games, self-care, and health.

The second category includes apps that resisted slowing down and continued their usual functioning patterns. These apps include:

  • eLearning
  • SaaS
  • eCommerce.


The adoption of various eLearning platforms gained traction during the COVID-19 pandemic due to in-person corporate training and multi-level school closures. When it comes to education technology trends, projections indicate a 1,876% investment increase between 2019 and 2025, according to the World Economic Forum. 

Replacing in-person classroom time with virtual education is crucial during the pandemic as more than 1.2 billion students live through the COVID-19 consequences across 186 countries worldwide. The same source reveals that eLearning apps, virtual tutoring, video conferencing, and online learning software represent the top choices for schools worldwide. 


Numerous different services fall into the Software-as-a-Service category. The entire market is witnessing companies battling challenges such as accounts on hold and sales decreasing. Simultaneously, the emphasis on remote work to ensure businesses stay afloat is more significant than ever. Numerous SaaS businesses are witnessing usage growth, such as Yelp.

Among these businesses, most benefit from using B2B SaaS apps that focus on essential services. For example, listed companies on Yelp take advantage of this app to increase awareness. Broadcasting their changed house of operation and pick-up or delivery services is another benefit.


COVID-19 has already closed most, if not all, physical retail stores. A Morning Consult report shows that in-person shopping is a source of discomfort for 24% of consumers in the next six months. As a result, online shopping via eCommerce apps should see a significant rise. A study reveals that online purchasing willingness among consumers is 30.6% higher mid-pandemic than in 2019.

Lastly, when it comes to apps that will rebound once things start to normalize, data indicates the following. App providers focusing on industries catering to in-home isolation and sheltering have thrived. However, COVID-19 has decimated sectors that rely on travel and movement.

Consequently, apps that focus on this industry will continue to be on hold during the lockdown. However, once the impact of the pandemic subsides and things begin to normalize, their app popularity will likely rebound. Examples of such apps include transportation, hospitality, and consumer services apps.