Mobile Application downloads mirror changing economy during COVID- 19 pandemic


Okubax (Flickr)

Grocery delivery apps are becoming popular during COVID-19 outbreak

Ole Olafson , Reporter

These days, there’s a mobile application for just about everything and apps that are trending can be pretty clear indicators of which way our economy is moving.

Over the last few weeks and days, many Americans have had to make dramatic lifestyle changes due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  From practicing social distancing, to working from home, to being required to stay at home, our day-to-day lives are changing from day to day.

John Koetsier, a consumer tech contributor for Forbes Magazine, detailed some of the rapidly moving apps that reflect the measures being taken by many Americans to try to protect themselves from the outbreak.

Not surprisingly, it appears that riding with a stranger in a stranger’s car is becoming far less popular as ride-sharing apps Uber and Lyft have plummeted to all-time lows.  As recently as last year, Uber was the #1 travel app and Lyft was top-10 in the same category.  Now they’ve dropped to 157 and 241 respectively, according to Koetsier.

Both companies recently suspended their shared carpool services in the United States and Canada which allowed different customers to ride together and share the cost of getting to a common destination.

Some of the apps that are surging reflect the unwillingness of many towards visiting busy grocery stores or other still-crowded places.

Target Shipt and Walmart Grocery are reportedly among the most popular, as well as Instacart, a grocery delivery service.

Apptopia vice president Adam Blacker told Forbes that Instacart had been breaking download records for the past several days with over 40,000 downloads daily.

Koetsier reported that travel apps are down dramatically, but education apps and remote working apps are flourishing as schools and businesses close in response to COVID-19 concerns.