In 2020, due to the global spread of the new coronavirus, almost all genre of business was shifted to online. More services were adapted to become available online, and as a result, 218 billion mobile apps were downloaded worldwide in 2020, a record high. In addition, consumer spending reached approximately 143 billion.
In Japan, the number of mobile app downloads was approximately 2.6 billion in 2020 and the amount of money spent by users was approximately 20 billion dollars. Compared to the previous year, those numbers have been increased largely due to the consumers’ physical needs and purchasing activities shifted to the online world during the pandemic. The average amount of time spent on mobile per person per day has also increased from 3.3 hours in 2019 to 3.7 hours. It can be seen that this was one of the years where the touch points to mobile accelerated further throughout the year.
Notable trends by category were seen in the education, entertainment, and media content categories. Education apps, such as learning language, online teachers for kids, online programming, online course matching etc, both organic and non-organic installs grew rapidly as schools were closed for a wide range of generations from elementary school to university under the state of emergency.
In Japan, the time spent using educational apps increased by about 85% from April to June 2020, compared to October to December 2019, and is growing due to increased use by corporations such as educational institutions and demand for learning by individuals.
For educational apps, the number of app launches increased sharply from the time schools were closed due to the state of emergency in early March, peaked in May when the emergency declaration continued, and then gradually decreased from the time schools reopened in June, perhaps due to the increased opportunities for face-to-face contact. Similarly, the number of game app launches increased from February, when people were forced to stay home and had a lot of spare time.
For business apps, revenues were plummeting from March to April when people started working from homes, but continuing to grow as usage rates increased from April when remote working began to drag on. In addition, revenue from finance apps has been growing slowly and steadily overall due to the increased usage in online banking system during the pandemic.
The number of entertainment apps has risen sharply since February, reflecting the effects of voluntary restraint from going out following the declaration of a state of emergency. Japanese users have been using entertainment apps more, especially video streaming services, as they spend more time at home. Another reason would be the announcement of the resuming of professional sports leagues in June, which may have contributed to the renewed rise in usage from the same period in some cases.
Entertainment, utility, and social apps are also seeing overall revenue gains, but what is particularly striking about these three categories is the sharp rise in in-app revenue from June to August.
Dating apps are also the ones that have been grown in 2020. As people stopped going out to meet others, instead, using matching apps to find opportunities for dates were the good alternative options for many users. Apps that have an ability to adapt market changes and to fit our new lifestyle in the world after COVID 19 would continue to have opportunities to grow.