Lin Pophal

As people are at home under self-quarantine, apps are coming into play in a myriad of ways. Whether it's an uptick in the use of productivity apps to get work done from home, or new demands for distractions (like games), apps are playing a big part in "social distancing." From games that allow live visual and audio interactions between remote friends and family to productivity and collaboration apps that are allowing millions of workers to stay connected, the mobile app industry is front and center in the fight to cope with COVID-19.

Interest in apps on the rise

Lexi Sydow is Senior Market Insights Manager at App Annie, a mobile data and analytics provider. She recently analyzed apps across several categories—including business, education, social, and entertainment. Some highlights of her research:

  • Time spent on mobile devices significantly increased in China and Italy during the height of their battle with the virus—China to 5 hours/day on average (a 30% increase); Italy saw an 11% jump.
  • Downloads and hours spent using business apps also increased significantly. During the first half of February, business and education apps were downloaded about two times more than during the same time in 2019. Popular apps included HUAWEI CLOUD WeLink, DingTalk, and ZOOM Cloud Meetings.
  • Market concerns are also driving the use of apps—finance apps saw significant increases in Japan, South Korea, the U.S., and China of 55%, 35%, 20%, and 20%, respectively.

With so many people tied to their phones, and so many now confined to their homes, apps are a convenient, readily accessed means of staying connected, staying social, and staying productive.

Here we look at a few notable and popular apps that are helping people cope with COVID-19 and remain productive at work and at home—which for many is now the same thing.

Socialization apps

Parents now facing the need to deal with stay-at-home kids while they, themselves, may be confined to the house during work hours, can take advantage of apps like TakeLessons that offers online classes in a wide range of topics for individuals or groups. Users can engage with peers and receive teacher feedback. Another app of potential interest to parents (for themselves and their kids) is Sworkit, an at-home fitness app.

Productivity apps

Hive is an all-in-one productivity app that is used by teams at Starbucks, Google, Comcast, and many other large companies—it is to assign tasks, cha,t and collaborate. The app has seen a 53% increase in usage and expects that growth to continue, according to Michaela Rollings, Senior Manager, Brand and Content.

Communication and collaboration apps

Zoom Video is riding the pandemic wave; it's seen stock prices spike to more than 100% since January and for good reason. The app allows businesses to continue holding meetings and will enable employees to continue interacting with each other conveniently.

Another communication app, Zello, is a push-to-talk walkie-talkie app that connects frontline workers, teams, and communities via voice. It's now being offered at no cost to first responders worldwide.

There's an app for that!

The bottom line, and the good news for all of us trying to adjust to a myriad of changes in our personal and work lives, is that chances are, whatever you need to cope with, there's an app that can help.