Consumers spent more time in five app categories during the pandemic year

Recent data from Global Wireless Solutions highlighted the mobile user behavior change during the first year of COVID (March 2020 – February 2021) as compared to the prior 12 months. 

According to the report, consumers spent an average of four hours per day on their smartphones during COVID-19, up ten minutes per day as compared to mobile usage pre-pandemic. 

While finance (63%) and social media apps (25%) use increased the most in terms of total volume hours, lifestyle (19%), video (12%), and gaming (6%) apps account for the majority of the average consumer’s day.

Every generation increased time spent on finance apps, with Gen Z leading the charge more than doubling the amount of time they spent checking out their finances (102%) and, in particular, their investments (127%).Mobile trading apps, including those that enable consumers to trade cryptocurrencies, accounted for 35% of time spent by all consumers on finance apps during the pandemic year.

The report finds that time spent on the no-commission-fees trading app increased by 183% during the pandemic. And financiers (power users who spend more time on finance apps than the average) spent 28% of their finance app minutes on two apps: Robinhood and Square’s Cash app.


Also read: Almost 60% of global App Store downloads came from Search in 2020



When it comes to social media apps, Gen Z accounted for the biggest usage increase in time spent with 71%. Even the silent generation saw an increase of 8% in total volume hours.

Consumers spent 31 minutes more per day on social media apps on their phones during the first year of COVID. Time spent on TikTok increased by 358%, while it increased 28%, 19%, 15%, and 10% on Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, respectively. Time spent on dating apps created by 24% during the pandemic year.

Video streaming apps were among the top categories with most increase in time spent. Americans watched 42 minutes of video per day on their mobile devices, with growth in time spent on video apps paced by Gen Z (up 44%) and Baby Boomers (up 10%).

Consumers spent an average of 156 minutes per day watching videos; 31 minutes daily on subscription based mobile video apps & nearly 2 hours per day watching videos on YouTube.

Lastly, multiplayer gaming apps saw an increase in time spent. Among Us users played 33% more minutes per day during the pandemic. ROBLOX users played 19% more minutes per day and the number of new users grew by 38% during the pandemic, while Pokémon GO users played 9% more minutes per day during the pandemic.

Discord users chatted 18% more minutes per day during the pandemic, as gamers spent 19 more minutes per day on their smartphones overall.

Here you can find more takeaways from The Pandemic Year in Mobile Apps report. 

Written by Jordan Bevan

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