The COVID’19 outbreak has taken the entire world by surprise and has introduced all of us to explore a lot many options of living and survival. Ever since the beginning of the pandemic, we have all been experiencing a lot of changes around us, in our daily lives and that too within a very short period, as if on a high thrill roller coaster ride. The times and norms are changing rapidly and we are all bearing witness to that.
While we are living through times where being positive is a bad thing and being negative brings about happiness, we must admit that this pandemic, despite all that it cost us, has surely touched each of our lives and turned tables for us in one way or the other. This pandemic has also brought up some revolutionary changes to our economy, social order, life norms, and what not!
The pandemic and its rapid spread, which lead to a series of lockdowns across the globe have contributed to a very high spike in the number of users going digital. People who were reluctant to go online for even the basic needs have now been forced to do so to keep themselves safe. This has brought about a very positive change and created a surge for the multitude of online platforms available to us these days, mostly mobile applications.
This sudden surge in the number of people going digital has created a huge demand for mobile applications. Since most people are now resorting to online options for meeting their daily needs choosing safety above all, almost all kinds of businesses are now racing to take their business online to meet the customer demands and to keep the show going.
Almost all verticals of industries irrespective of the size of their biz are going through this shift of taking their businesses offline to online or making it both go hand in hand. There are certain businesses that over the years have created a niche for themselves in the market and have a powerful and strong bond with their customers that is built on trust and customer-centric services. Some of these businesses were having their dealings entirely offline but now due to the huge demand from their customers, they too have started going online with apps/websites, again successfully proving what their brands have been popular for – trust and customer-centric services.
The core focus of all businesses is, of course, its customer. All enterprises are now working on delivering the best experiences for all its customers. Mobile Apps are one of the most preferred and sought after options for online business nowadays. Mobile Apps are seen as a way in which the customer can have their favourite brands and businesses one tap away. Be it Finance, Entertainment, Shopping, Travel, Learning, Working, or whatever it is that you wish to do from the comfort of your home, there is an App for that.
Presently, according to the statistics, in a country like India alone, people are spending close to 26-28 hours on average in a week looking at their smartphones. Google’s PlayStore and Apple’s AppStore are witnessing huge traffic since the start of the lockdowns as people have been searching and seeking out their favourite and trusted brands, apps for necessities, etc online. This is the best time for small enterprises, startups, and businesses to leverage their products and services by catering to the requirements of the huge potential customer base available online.
Enterprises are now going about building a respectable space for their brand in the virtual world. They are leaving no stones unturned. They are trying to come up with Native Apps – Apps that can be used by Android and IOS users alike for their businesses. The statistics say that downloads on Play Store grew 5% year-over-year to 22.5 billion, while iOS downloads grew by 15% year-over-year to over 9 billion in the first quarter of 2020 according to a report by App Annie. This is the kind of numbers we are talking about now. If you are planning to leverage your business online, this would be the best time. Carve out the niche for your brand in the virtual world with the abundant opportunities out there.
In the case of businesses that were already happening and prominent online, the impact of COVID’19 has had on them is dependent on the category/vertical they fall into. For instance, the mobile apps falling into the travel or lodging industries have been seeing a sharp decline in the number of users since the mid of March 2020. Over the period of lockdown, however, they too are bringing in concepts like virtual tours, advance booking options, travel and lodging options following all necessary health precautions, quarantine facilities, etc as an attempt to win back their huge user base. Through these processes, they are seeing some slight improvements in the number of users engaging with their platform.
However, apps belonging to categories like finance, e-commerce, and entertainment are witnessing an incredible increase in the number of users onboarding with them and using their services. Several small scale businesses to multinational companies have introduced their apps introducing and extending all kinds of services and support by reaching out to customers beyond horizons. They are trying every means to make their services available to even the most remote areas of several countries across the globe. This is also one of the biggest opportunities the local businesses can get to expand their businesses, customer base, and win over new clients beyond their regular business zones.
Also, the banning of certain popular apps, which were leading in terms of the number of users and downloads, in some countries has led to the widespread downloads and popularity of their local alternatives. Some apps have even seen as much as close to 300% expansion in its worldwide user base in just 1 month. The other most happening categories in recent times are social media, fitness, food and beverages, video conferencing apps, etc. People are getting more and more involved in these apps due to contributing factors like the widespread demand for online classes, work from home options, online parties/gatherings, workout from home, etc. All the industries are closely watching the lifestyles of their targeted consumers, understanding what they lack when they are locked up in their homes, and coming up with a solution to bridge that gap – all online.
So, if you have a business you are planning to take online, do it now. It is always better to strike when the iron is hot.