The average Brit spends three hours and 25 minutes a day on their phones. This usage was accelerated even further by the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown. Phones were a lifeline for those who felt isolated as they could catch up with their friends at the press of a button. Now we are out of lockdown, which apps are here to stay?
The Covid-19 pandemic saw more people using video calling apps to communicate. In fact, average usage of video calling apps by people over the age of 35 shot up by 350% as the disease swept the globe. Another study tracked mobile phone behaviour during lockdown. The data was collated from a representative sample of 15 million mobile phone users, both Android and IOS phones, over a 90-day period.
The analysis also saw a significant increase in mobile video calling app usage in general, with an average rise of 25%. Video conferencing experienced a huge boom during the pandemic, the market reached $7.87 billion in 2020, up from $3.85 billion.
Many patients, particularly those with underlying health conditions, found it difficult to see their medical consultant and pick up prescription medicine during the Covid-19 Pandemic. A third of patients in the UK reported unmet clinical needs during the outbreak, with many finding it difficult to access essential appointments.
Many companies saw this as an opportunity to bridge the void between the patient and doctor with medical smartphone apps. Patients could use these apps to have video calls with their doctor and schedule their medicine prescriptions for delivery.
These apps are particularly important in countries with poor connectivity. In India, apps like Practo and Sameer Gehlaut’s Dhani Services provide services to people even in the most remote locations. These services were so popular that many people have continued to use them despite being able to visit their doctor again.
NHS Covid-19 app
The NHS launched its Track and Trace app in the Summer of 2020. The Covid-19 app was implemented to monitor the spread of the virus in England and Wales. The app has several functions that enable the user to: check into venues, see the alert level in their area, be notified when they have come into contact with an infected individual, and book coronavirus tests. Despite Covid-19 restrictions easing, the app is still widely used in the events sector, for example, as proof of vaccination status.
Unable to go outside, people across the world watched vast amounts of content to pass the time during the first lockdown. As public transport and other essential services shut down, people were left with nothing better to do than to binge-watch their favourite shows on Netflix or hunt for content on TikTok. Entertainment providers such as Netflix cashed in on the boom; they received a staggering 36 million subscribers during the pandemic.
There was a huge upturn in walking and cycling during the Covid-19 pandemic. Dr Travis Moreland, a professor of public health at McGill University and an epidemiologist at the Canadian Centre for Health Research, thinks that this may well have sparked what we’re now calling the Coronavirus fitness app boom. “There was definitely a spike around 2021,” explains dr. Moreland, who has been studying the behavioural impacts of the Covid-19 lockdowns since their beginning in 2018.
“A lot more people were using fitness apps, and we saw a big jump in the use of Strava and other pedometer apps as well as digital fitness tracking tools like Fitbit and Apple Health.”