The ongoing global pandemic has changed life as we know it. Due to government-issued lockdowns, entities in many industries are haemorrhaging funds, wondering if they will survive when the COVID-19 virus finally gets defeated. Amidst this crisis, where businesses got forced to close their doors for extended periods, app installs surged as many people turned to their phones as a source of entertainment. According to a report from App Annie, consumers worldwide spent £23 billion in in-app purchases across Google Play and Apple store in Q1 of 2021, a new record. The most popular installed apps ranged from dating ones to online casinos without limits. The latter refers to UKGC-regulated platforms and non UK casinos, more popularly known as non GamStop sites.
Online Dating Softwares
Public health measures established in 2020 presented a challenge for those looking to meet someone new. Movie theatres remained shut for most of last year, as did concert venues, sporting events, and even restaurants. Thus, in March of 2020, Tinder marked a record three billion swipes in a single day. The number of Bumble video calls grew by 70%, and OkCupid saw a 700% increase in arranged virtual meetings.
In a time of physical isolation, live video and dating apps are the best shot of maintaining social sanity and connecting with new people. Thanks to the miracles of modern technology, those looking for love can explore their options without leaving their homes.
The days of snake and Pong are history. Advanced smartphones now have the ability to run games that feature graphics and 3D environments comparable to console and PC products. Per research from the NPD Group, in 2020, in North America, mobile gaming marked an overall increase of 12%, rising across all age groups. In the UK, this market also substantially swelled, bringing in an estimated 8.6 million new gamers.
The most popular smartphone games now are Monster Hunter Rise, Among Us, Doctor Who: The Lonely Assassins, PUBG Mobile, Call of Duty: Mobile, Fortnite, Project CARS GO, and Crash Bandicoot: On the Run! Older gamers may enjoy Candy Crush Saga, Clash of Clans, Fruit Ninja, Block Puzzle Jewel, and Ingress. All of these are available on Google Play and the Apple store.
UKGC Casinos & Non GamStop Sites
With physical casinos shut down, there has never been a better time to navigate to the digital side of things and try some UK and non UK casino sites. The main difference between these two is that the first get regulated by the UK Gambling Commission. While casinos not on GamBan get overseen by international regulatory bodies, such as the Malta Gaming Authority and Curacao master license holders.
Another area where these two categories of gambling platforms are different is that UK ones tie into the nation’s mandatory self-exclusion scheme – GamStop. So, if a player decides to self-exclude, he will no longer be able to play at any UKGC-licensed site for the duration of his chosen exclusion period. International platforms have site-specific exclusion only. They also feature more robust game libraries due to laxer regulation and incorporate less limiting betting options.
Interest in playing games of chance on the internet is reaching an all-time high, as evident by gambling-related terms hitting unseen peaks during the first set of lockdowns in 2020.
Video Streaming Apps
According to studies, during the early onset of the pandemic and its associated lockdowns, adult UK residents, on average, spent around 40% of their waking hours staring at a device screen. That is a 31% increase compared to 2019. At the height of the first lockdown, the total time spent looking at a screen hit a stunning average of six hours and twenty-five minutes per day. About one hour and ten minutes of this time got allocated for watching streaming services such as Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Disney+. Furthermore, these platforms gained a total of twelve million new subscribers during the first lockdown period.
Globally, the video streaming market should show an annual compound growth rate of 12% until 2027. North America is the leading market due to advanced network infrastructure and high internet connectivity, but Asia-Pacific is a rising contender. The rollout of 5G networks should also help the ascension of streaming apps and increase their install numbers. Currently, Disney+ leads this pack with over 45 million downloads, with Netflix only slightly trailing behind, lagging by less than a million installs.
Stock Trading Apps
Much like casinos without limits, stock trading apps are an excellent way for testing luck en route to potential riches. These pieces of software foster an entrepreneurial spirit in young people while providing a view of the world economy. Some of the more popular options for beginners include Acorns, E*Trade, and Stash.
Nevertheless, without a doubt, Robinhood is the juggernaut in this sector. It firmly established itself as a favourite amongst Millennials in this time of crisis. In June of 2020, it had a valuation of $8.3 billion, but now estimates put this number at close to $40 billion, which is double the proposed IPO valuation that Reuters reported in December of 2020.
Brokerage apps are the undoubted viral sensation of this past year, with Robinhood being the flagbearer for these apps, with over 20 million active users.
To Wrap Up
Nowadays, more than half of internet traffic comes from smartphones. After hovering around the 50%-mark for years, the tide is gradually and consistently growing in mobile traffic’s favour. Today, people mainly use desktop computers for work only and their smartphones for everything else. Thus, even without the global pandemic, the apps mentioned above would have attained the same popularity relatively soon. Yet, no one can argue that lockdowns acted as a catalyst, accelerating the rise of these figures. From games to casinos without limits, the way we experience entertainment is changing. Thus, it is wise to regularly visit Google Play and the Apple store and keep up to date with current trends.