As the world locked-down to battle the COVID-19 global pandemic, many online apps were busy
in touch and entertaining ourselves suddenly gone in a poof of corona, people were forced to turn to
their smart devices for everything from communication to news and entertainment.
As a result, while it was all doom and gloom outside, the sun was shining bright in the world of
mobile apps; with many achieving record levels of downloads and activity. So much so that, with all
the corona-crazy going around at the time, many feared even the internet would go up in a cloud of
smoke due to everyone watching Netflix and other… Ahem… on-demand video service “hubs”.
So, who were the winners? Let’s take a look some of the top apps of 2020 so far in-terms of
downloads. (Source: sensortower.com)
Top Apps So Far
TikTok – The lockdown was an ideal opportunity for mindless entertainment and so it’s no doubt
that TikTok in all its mindless (but fun and creative) glory took the world by storm. The platform has
emerged as a popular social network and is now also emerging as an effective digital marketing tool,
particularly amongst younger demographics.
WhatsApp – No surprise here… People need to stay in touch and with encrypted one-to-one chats,
voice and video calling and group chat features along with its massive popularity, downloading
WhatsApp was a no brainer.
Zoom – Before the lockdowns, few people had even heard of Zoom. But now, Zoom is everywhere.
In fact, if you’ve not used Zoom at least once, please check, because you may be living under a rock!
The excellent video conferencing features of this app, along with its excellent UI and quality of
service made it a rocking star in terms of collaboration and keeping in touch during the lockdown.
It’s also been an excellent tool for learning and has gained a lot of traction, despite initial issues with
data security and privacy.
Facebook & Messenger – Clearly, the last few people who’ve been avoiding getting on the
platform have been sent over the edge by the pandemic. However, Facebook is consistently
amongst the world’s top downloaded apps, so this is nothing remarkable.
Instagram – Lockdown was a great time to scroll through endless feeds of images showcasing other
people’s lives and there’s no better platform for this than Instagram.
SHAREit – Cross-platform and cross-device file sharing became a suddenly critical need during the
lockdown and SHAREit enabled that. The platform also offered other features for entertainment and
communication. The standout feature of the app is filesharing between nearby devices without the
need for an internet connection, thus saving data. No wonder it’s made the list!
Netflix – A no-brainer. Netflix probably saved many from full-scale mental breakdown during
lockdown, so its comforting even to see it on this list.
Snapchat – Another social platform that’s been growing in popularity that got a nice leg-up from
Google Classroom – Everyone’s been talking about online learning for a long time but there was
never a critical need to implement it till recent events unfolded. This need for online learning has
seen Google Classroom, an excellent tool for creating, distributing and grading assignments, blow up
in terms of popularity during lockdown.
Other Notable Mentions
Other apps too gained in popularity such as Microsoft Teams, House Party, YouTube and Ding Talk
amongst others. Basically, apps that provided communication, collaboration and entertainment
grew in popularity during the period.
Even though games were not included in this list, they were some of the hottest downloads during
the lockdown and included titles such as ASMR Slicing, PUBG Mobile, Save the Girl and Call of Duty
Mobile. The popularity of online gaming on mobile and PC has skyrocketed during lockdown and will
likely continue to do so as people look to avoid unnecessary public exposure.
It’s reasonable to question whether the surges in usage of these apps and services during the
lockdown will last long-term. Life will eventually return to “normal” and, when people are able to go
about freely and do what they used to, will they still choose to spend so much time on their devices?
While it’s left to be seen, some of the growth will likely be sustained, particularly for apps that
provide useful services. Online gaming is also likely to see its lockdown-growth last, as many new
online gamers will likely remain online gamers for years to come.
However, as life returns to a state of “normalcy”, whenever and whatever that may be, some of this
growth in users and activity will likely reverse itself to the median. But the great news is that the
present increased popularity and usage will see better services, more competition and thus more
innovation in the near term; giving users the best experience possible.
What do you think? What apps did you download? Which of them will you keep using? Tell us in the