The Pandemic Pushes A Rebound in Mobile App Opens

August 28, 2020

Airship Global Mobile App Open Trends Aug2020Echoing the growth in global app revenue and downloads this year, mobile app open rates and location opt-ins have picked up significantly since the COVID-19 pandemic after being on the decline earlier. So finds a report [download page] from Airship, laying out what these changes in mobile engagement look like across a number of regions and verticals.

Average App Opens Increase Post-Pandemic

The data from 744 million mobile app users around the world indicates several key trends when comparing year-over-year changes in February 2020 to the pandemic period (March-June). Notably, 11 of the 12 verticals studied saw a decline in average app opens between February 2019 and February 2020, but post-pandemic a similar 10 in 12 verticals saw a significant increase in app opens.

Business apps, which suffered the largest decline in opens y-o-y in February (48.2%), saw a huge turnaround during the March-June period, increasing by 26% year-over-year during these months. Other verticals with similar rebounds include Media, Entertainment, and Retail.

Conversely, despite being the only vertical to experience an increase in app opens y-o-y in February (18.7%), Travel & Transportation apps have understandably taken a hit during the pandemic and have since seen a decline in opens of 23%.

Regionally, average app open trends differ slightly between subregions, with Eastern Asia seeing the biggest y-o-y decline in app opens in February 2020 (-48.9%), while Eastern Europe saw the largest increase in this metric (39.4%).

Direct Notification Open Rates

The study also takes a look at average direct open rate data, that is, app opens from notifications. In February 2020, verticals were evenly split between those seeing y-o-y increases and decreases in average direct open rates. However, over the March-June period, direct open rates grew for 9 in 12 verticals, with the three remaining verticals seeing relatively small declines (Utilities, -2.5%; Travel & Transportation, -7.1%; Entertainment, -16.5%). The increase in direct open rate was as high as 98.4% post-pandemic for Finance & Insurance apps, followed by Food & Drink (71.1%) and Sports & Recreation (46.1%).

Location Opt-In Rates

In yet another post-pandemic trend, location opt-in rates grew in all but three regions (where opt-in rates have been historically low) between March and June, despite 7 in 8 regions having experienced a decrease in this metric between February 2019 and February 2020. In Southern Asia, which saw the biggest y-o-y decrease in February 2020 (-60%), location opt-ins increased by 163% by June. In the US, location opt-ins saw an 18.2% increase between March and June, perhaps indicating Americans are growing more comfortable with sharing location data than they once were.

And, by vertical, Medical, Health & Fitness apps saw the largest change, with their location opt-ins increasing by some 150% between March and June. Even Travel & Transportation apps buck the otherwise-seen trend and experienced an increase in location opt-in rate of 116%.

Read the full report here.

About the Data: Findings are based on data from more than 744 million active mobile app users.


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