Coronavirus: App downloads surge as people stay locked in; TikTok biggest gainer

The coronavirus-induced lockdown is making consumers spend more time on their smartphones. India and Brazil led app downloads in Q1 2020.

Coronavirus: App downloads surge as people stay locked in; TikTok biggest gainer

Monday April 06, 2020,

3 min Read

With the coronavirus pandemic forcing people to stay indoors, their screen time has skyrocketed in the last few months.

As their mobility stands restricted, consumers are exploring newer avenues of recreation and relaxation, leading to a surge in mobile app downloads and spends.

In its latest Global Market Index, App Annie reveals that users spent a record $23.4 billion on mobile apps in Q1 2020. This period also saw new downloads crossing 31 billion, growing 15 percent over Q4 2019.

New app downloads on Android and iOS stood at 22 billion and nine billion respectively. Non-gaming apps accounted for 55 percent of overall downloads on Google Play Store, and 65 percent on Apple App Store, according to the index.

"India and Brazil were the two largest markets by downloads in Q1 2020. In terms of growth, Brazil, India, and Vietnam were the biggest drivers of change from Q4 2019," App Annie stated.


TikTok was the biggest gainer, unsurprisingly. It was the most downloaded app across iOS and Android, followed by WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger. Even in 2019, TikTok had topped global app installs.

Facebook still leads when it comes to monthly active users (MAUs), followed by WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Instagram, and TikTok.

In terms of app spends, Tinder took the top spot. It was followed by video-streaming apps YouTube, Netflix, IQIYI, and Tencent Video.

Games, Tools, and Entertainment were the biggest categories on Google Play Store.

App Annie data

Source: App Annie

Interestingly, changing consumer behaviour also translated into strong growth in "often overlooked categories" like Health & Fitness, Education, and Business. All three categories grew between 30 percent and 40 percent in Q1 2020, as per the index.

App Annie explained the trend, saying,

"As working from home becomes the norm, and more schools and gyms begin to close, we’ve seen an increase in downloads of apps that allow consumers to maintain normality while staying at home. Conferencing and collaboration tools such as ZOOM, Google Hangouts, and Microsoft Teams have seen strong adoption."

Daily time spent on Android apps also increased by 20 percent on an average as the coronavirus pandemic spread to most parts of the world. China, where it originated, saw daily time spent increase by 30 percent, while Italy, the next most affected region, recorded the second-highest jump of 11 percent.

"As governments and businesses step up their efforts to stop the coronavirus pandemic, consumers on lockdown at home are finding novel ways of using mobiles," App Annie added.

(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)