The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted lockdown policies and social distancing measures, pushing consumers to connect online for school, work, and socializing. As a result, mobile usage is continuously increasing—people are spending more of their time on mobile apps for online betting, entertainment, eCommerce, and more.
According to a report from App Annie, 33 billion new apps were downloaded in the third quarter of 2020. Consumers spent $28 billion on apps and 180 billion collective hours each month in July, August, and September—an increase of 25 percent compared to 2019.
The mobile data and analytics firm predicted in early 2020 that the COVID-19 pandemic would have a long-lasting impact on consumers’ mobile behavior. This proved true as the mobile trends kept fluctuating or increasing even in the third quarter.
The Pandemic: Crisis & Opportunity
The pandemic severely impacted the streaming industry this year, leading to massive growth in consumer demand for on-demand entertainment. This signified a paradigm shift from the traditional entertainment consumption methods to mobile SVoD channels.
Various studies found that mobile app usage rose by 40 percent YoY to a new record of 200 billion hours in just a single month during the second quarter of 2020. This was primarily due to the effects of lockdown and the pandemic altering consumers’ daily activities.
At the same time, viewing figures for streaming services increased by 71 percent YOY. This presented a challenging yet invaluable opportunity to expand the customer base of streaming services and tap into increased market penetration.
Eventually, streaming services that took advantage of this situation by implementing a solid app growth marketing strategy ahead of their competition emerged as dominant players in the market. Even after the lockdown eased and the spike in app usage return to normal, these measures played a significant part in maintaining growth.
Entertainment apps are an obvious tool to combat boredom and keep from being overwhelmed by worry. With plenty of time on their hands, a lot of people, especially the youth, have turned to entertainment apps, resulting in a surge in the number of users.
While music-related entertainment apps continued enjoying the spike, platforms that offer unique media services like Netflix also benefited from the pandemic.
The Most Popular Entertainment Apps in 2020
Netflix continued leading the race with brand new offerings in the video streaming category, such as Money Heist, Queen’s Gambit, and Tiger King, attracting millions of new viewers. Following close behind was Disney+ and Prime Video with a comparatively smaller catalog of video.
With more than two billion monthly active users, YouTube witnessed 170 million downloads in 2020. Though not on the list, TikTok proved to be a fierce competitor for YouTube. And Google responded to this by introducing short-form videos on the platform.
Furthermore, Baidu’s iQiyi was also on the top ten list with download figures hitting a 200 million mark, similar to Tencent Video, a popular video streaming service in China.
Under the music streaming category, Spotify, as always, was the most popular service with the most subscribers. This was partly due to the company’s significant investment in podcasting.
YouTube Music appeared to be Google’s first successful music streaming application with more than 30 million subscribers. It is worth noting that Apple Music had a minimal crossover to Android users.
The Entertainment Industry Today
Perhaps for the first time in history, streaming service subscriptions have taken over conventional TV subscriptions. This trend is expected to consistently grow at a robust annual rate of 10 to 15 percent. Furthermore, the entry of younger demographics as reliable streaming consumers brings along a swivel to Gen Z and Millennial preferences—more than 80 percent of those in Generation Z and over 90 percent of Millennials subscribe to video-on-demand services.
Who is consuming video and media and how are they doing it are two major trends that are showing a significant shift. Businesses are currently using these data insights to understand their target audience and the channels they use to set up successful and organic growth strategies and paid campaigns.