Who are the App winners during Covid -19?

Continuing on from our previous blog Are Americans keeping up with the COVID19 social distancing rules? today, we want to look at who are the big winners in the app space. Who has gained the most users between February and end of April and where users spent most of their time across apps.

App landscape

First, let’s look at the overall app landscape at the beginning of the COVID-19 health crisis. The graph below illustrates how the number of users and average time Americans spent using apps between the end of February and the end of March changed.

App landscape Feb-March 2020

App landscape Feb-March 2020


  • The length of time spent increased the most among Communication apps
  • Travel apps experienced the biggest drop in time spent, whilst Maps had the greatest decline in active users
  • The Shopping and Gaming category apps had more new consumers using the apps, but interestingly they did not spend on average more time using the apps
  • Apps related to Health Maintenance did not see much increase in user base, but certainly saw a jump in time spent using the apps

Let’s look at how things are playing at an app level.

App user base growth

 First, let’s look at  Zoom, who managed to massively  increase their active users between February and April. During the first month of lockdown, their user base grew exponentially, whilst during the second month the growth was steady. Overall Zoom managed to increase their users over 12 times.

Zoom user growth

Zoom user growth


Other user winning apps have managed to more than double their base.

Growth in users of selected apps, Feb-Apr 2020

Growth in users of selected apps, Feb-Apr 2020

With most people working from home, the Productivity apps clearly benefited and grew their user base. Moving away from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams seems to have worked very well for the Silicon Valley tech giant. Despite the huge user base they already had, Microsoft Team app gained 3 times more users in just 3 months.

People not only work from home nowadays, but their kids also do their studies online. And this is evident from the rise of Google Classrooms, who had over 2.5 times more users in April as compared to February.

People were doing their shopping from home, resulting in the rise of delivery and shopping apps such as Instacart, Arrive, DoorDash as well as home improvement chain Lowe’s.

In addition, the entertainment industry benefited greatly from the confinement with channels such as HBO and SlingTV increasing their user base by 60%.

App usage growth

In addition to greater user base, several apps are also seeing a significant increase in time spent by their users. The growth in average seconds per user (aspu) presents an interesting trend.

Zoom is once again at the top of the table, as people spent twice more using the app, whether for work-related conference calls or just talking to family and relatives.

Google Classroom is another winner, as more and more kids are spending considerable time studying from home.

Health and Self Maintenance apps are also in the top rating for time increase, with Achievement and Calm leading the way.

Month on month and accumulative average second per user (aspu) growth Feb – April 2020

Month on month and accumulative average second per user (aspu) growth Feb – April 2020

COVID-19 has changed the way people interact, work, shop and study among other things. The changing trends in app usage gives us a glimpse of how people adapt their lives in these unprecedented times.

Embee mobile, through its proprietary panel, provides completely unique understanding of the consumer life. For up-to-the minute insights and consumer data and trends, contact one of our insight specialists.