In the first half of 2020, iOS and Google Play apps were downloaded 64 billion times, an increase of five percent year-over-year and 10 percent from the second half of 2019. The global pandemic “has changed consumer behavior on mobile forever,” according to App Annie.
Coronavirus has dramatically changed all of our lives. There’s no doubt about it. This means that the way we interact with mobile apps – specifically those critical to our daily lives – has changed as well.
Here are some examples of apps in the lifestyle category (specifically dating apps and fitness/wellness apps) that have quickly adapted to changing consumer behaviors and successfully navigated these uncertain waters well.
Why These Brands Succeeded
Here are some common themes among the most successful lifestyle apps during this time:
- Quickly pivoting product roadmap and expanding services
- Increasing support levels and adopting new in-app communication channels
- Frequently communicating about changes, closures, new features, etc.
- Creating educational content for new and existing users on different ways to use the product or service
- Asking their customers what they want and need – and actually listening to mobile customer feedback
WARNING: If you’re an app that has benefited from a surge of new users in 2020, be wary. You might be gaining many new customers from offering free subscriptions or longer trials, but your real challenge begins when customers begin indicating they’re no longer engaged or about to churn. What happens when that 30-day trial is over? What will their response be when you remove free options? You need to start proactively engaging with customers now in order to boost retention and reduce churn.
Even though people are staying home, they’re still looking for love. According to the Economic Times, “[dating] apps have seen a 20% increase in new users, mostly busy professionals such as bankers, tech workers and entrepreneurs looking to find meaningful and long-term relationships amid a skewed work-life scenario…” In-person poses a greater risk now with health restrictions as well, so meeting virtually is a much lower risk experience. This pandemic has enabled more people to get more comfortable with the format of mobile dating. With the increase in usage comes an increase in demand for new features – these brands are listening.
Bumble saw an incredible conversion spike of more than 60 percent and an 84 percent increase in usage of their video and voice features since COVID began.
Hinge rolled out the concept of “dating from home” which enables users to connect and actually go on dates from the comfort (and safety) of their own homes. It’s harnessing the same features they’ve always offered, but framing and packaging it in a new way that speaks to the current times and customer need.
Match started encouraging “Dating while Distancing” and offered an all-new support channel for people learning how to connect online. They also started producing content with tips and tricks to adapt to this new way of dating.
Tinder used to be all about finding local connections, but it released the new product “Passport” which allows singles to connect all over the world.
In-person poses a greater risk now with health restrictions as well, so meeting virtually is a much lower risk experience. This pandemic has enabled more people to get more comfortable with the format of mobile dating.
Fitness and Wellness Apps
The shift from in-person fitness to virtual has been dramatic – in fact, app publishers in this category have seen 47 percent growth in Q2 2020 over the previous year.
There are three main reasons why fitness and wellness apps have seen a surge:
- People are looking for ways to improve their physical wellbeing with the hopes it will prevent future illness
- People are adjusting to new ways of living – oftentimes with increased stress (emotionally and physically)
- With the closure of gyms and in-person facilities, people must find virtual ways to attend fitness classes, meeting with trainers, and replace what would have been physical activities
Peloton started offering 90-day free trials for their at-home workout application which helps gain new customers. These at-home workouts were advertised as equipment-free so they were truly accessible to everyone.
NIKE RUN CLUB
Nike’s Run Club made all premium content free through mid-June as a way to gain new customers.
Headspace offers free subscriptions to US healthcare workers through the end of the year.
Fitbit released a feature that allows users to connect to doctors virtually and easily access information about exercising indoors. Their “Ready for Work” product enables customers to track key health metrics, as well as a way to log symptoms to help determine if they’re ready to return to work.
Even as gyms start to reopen and we begin to go back to the “new normal,” people will have learned how convenient in-home fitness is and might not go back to their old gyms. In addition, consumers are building new long-term habits that will continue far beyond the end of this pandemic.
While many in-person gyms struggled to adapt (for example, OrangeTheory had to build live channels and offered services through Instagram, Facebook, and Zoom essentially from scratch), mobile-first companies were set up nicely for success. But the question now is how to distinguish yourself from your competitors. With everyone contending for attention in the same space, it’ll be vital for brands to find ways to retain loyal customers and win back those at risk.
What other mobile apps have made positive product pivots despite the constantly-changing industry?
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