The coronavirus pandemic has changed the world in many ways, including how we work, study, or even communicate. This is even visible when you look at the apps people download on their phones, as some have become indispensable these days. We've analyzed top app charts from last month and compared them to today's to see how they've evolved, and some of the results are interesting.
To prepare this post, we've studied top charts for Play Store app downloads in the US from February 27 and compared them with today's figures, using data collected by App Annie. We've excluded games and have separated free and paid apps for our analysis. For all charts, we've reviewed the top 10 apps, but we've also looked at more figures to interpret some global trends for specific app categories.
Top 10 Free Apps
|End of Feb||End of Mar|
|1||Your Phone Companion||Zoom|
|7||Android System WebView||Hangouts Meet|
Zoom has unsurprisingly made it to the very top of the list, as it's being used by a high number of companies and institutions for meetings, but also to run webinar and virtual classes. Similarly, Google Classroom, Hangouts Meet, and Microsoft Teams have also made their way into the top 10 most installed apps on Android, further proving that people are flocking to download them for work or to attend classes from home.
News apps weren't part of the most downloaded list last month, but News Break and SmartNews have just made it into the Top 5, hinting that people are more curious about the outbreak and want to be informed about its evolution.
Lastly, social media and chat software such as Instagram, Messenger, TikTok, and WhatsApp are still popular, though more people seem to be installing TikTok and WhatsApp compared to last month. It's understandable, as you'd typically be watching more videos while staying at home and use WhatsApp to keep in touch with your friends and family.
Top 10 Paid Apps
|End of Feb||End of Mar|
|2||HotSchedules||DroidCamX Wireless Webcam Pro|
|3||Navigation Pro: Google Maps Navi on Samsung Watch||Scanner Radio Pro - Fire and Police Scanner|
|4||Torque Pro (OBD 2 & Car)||The Wonder Weeks vs 9|
|5||TouchRetouch||Tiny Scanner Pro: PDF Doc Scan|
|6||Nova Launcher Prime||Navigation Pro: Google Maps Navi on Samsung Watch|
|7||The Wonder Weeks vs 9||Plague Inc: Scenario Creator|
|8||Tasker||FL Studio Mobile|
|9||FL Studio Mobile||Video & TV Cast | Ultimate Edition|
|10||Magnificat Lenten 2020||Torque Pro (OBD 2 & Car)|
Paid apps can be a bit of a mixed bag, as there are far fewer people downloading them compared to free ones, and their ratings could be less impacted. That being said, the most popular one on the Play Store today is XtraMath, an app designed to help kids learn about basic mathematics. This makes perfect sense, as parents would typically look at software solutions to help their kids continue to learn while quarantined at home.
More apps have also made their way into the list, including DroidCamX Wireless Webcam Pro, Scanner Radio Pro - Fire and Police Scanner, Tiny Scanner Pro: PDF Doc Scan, Plague Inc: Scenario Creator, and Video & TV Cast | Ultimate Edition. People seem to want to use their phone as a webcam during the pandemic, but also entertain themselves by listening to emergency responder radio transmissions. On a more serious note, it makes sense people would need to scan documents with their phone, especially for work or even school assignments, as well as cast live TV. The outlier here is Plague Inc: Scenario Creator, which is really a game, but has been classified as a productivity app. It lets you create your own plague and simulate its spread — ironic, isn't it?
Some of last month's apps are still in the Top 10, including The Wonder Weeks vs 9, which is a baby calendar app, and it makes sense people would continue to use it despite the pandemic. FL Studio Mobile, a music mixing studio, is also still part of the Top 10, together with Torque Pro (OBD 2 & Car), an app that monitors your car's vitals using a Bluetooth adapter, and Navigation Pro: Google Maps Navi on Samsung Watch. It's surprising the latter is still as popular, considering people considering people should be staying at home right now, but they could potentially still use their Samsung Watch to go to the store or for a run.
Top 10 Grossing Apps
|End of Feb||End of Mar|
|2||Google One||Google One|
|6||HBO NOW||HBO NOW|
|8||TurboTax Tax Return App|
The Top 10 grossing app list hasn't changed much. The first three remain the same, and while Disney+ and Pandora make perfect sense in this section, it's interesting Google One is second on the list. Even more surprising, people want to date even more while quarantined, as Tinder has gone up from fifth to fourth, and Bumble has made its way to the Top 10. It's worth noting Tango has also gained in popularity, while the rest of the apps were already on the list last month, and include Facebook, as well as streaming services like Twitch, HBO NOW, and BIGO LIVE.
In addition to the variations in the Top 10 charts, which already tend to show an increase in downloads for streaming services, news apps, and social media, there are also some trends that we've seen when looking at the big picture. For example, some apps such as Messenger Kids and Houseparty have made it to the Top 20, while they weren't even in the most 100 downloaded apps last month. This makes sense, though, as parents and kids alike want to keep in touch with friends and family while confined at home.
Interestingly, while video streaming services have remained as popular as before — with Netflix and Disney+ being the 11th and 12th most installed apps — music streaming apps are much less popular. Both Spotify and YouTube Music have plunged from the 14th and 15th position to 27th and 51st. It appears people like to listen to music mostly while commuting and working out, activities that aren’t as common at the moment.
Lastly, food delivery apps like Instacart and DoorDash are gaining popularity, as people prefer to have groceries delivered at their doorstep instead of risking to go out. We hope you’re all doing the same and staying safe at home!