What App Usage and Error Data Reveal During COVID-19
August 12, 2020

Even though COVID-19 brought many aspects of the economy to a halt, several categories of apps received a significant boost during the pandemic, according to Bugsnag.

In an analysis, Bugs Don't Shelter in Place: What App Usage and Error Data Reveal During COVID-19, Bugsnag identified categories of apps that saw their usage increase up to 126% during the pandemic, compared to pre-COVID times, as well as those that were adversely impacted during the first part of 2020 but are expected to rebound as the economy improves.

Pandemic-Thriving Apps

Analyzing the top 750 projects that rely on Bugsnag, the company compared user sessions before and during the pandemic. Those "pandemic-thriving" apps, which experienced the largest increases in download and use, included video conferencing, telemedicine, remote work solutions, media and entertainment, gaming, social networking, health and fitness, online ordering and delivery, logistics and religion.

The report states: "Video chat and online conference apps saw a 627% increase in download in North America and 121% increase in daily active users."

The report also notes: "In April, entertainment apps saw an overall usage increase of 25%, and music apps were used 21% more frequently."

"The error data derived through Bugsnag provides a unique lens through which we're able to gain an understanding of the economy's rapid evolution as a result of the coronavirus pandemic," said James Smith, Bugsnag co-founder and CEO. "Organizations seeing the greatest demand are now releasing new and updated apps at a record pace. And they're under pressure to get it right the first time since so many consumers rely on these tools as part of their new normal everyday lives."

Pandemic-Proof Apps

The Bugsnag analysis identified categories of apps that are proving to be "pandemic-proof" — including eCommerce, SaaS and eLearning — which have continued more or less as usual.

The report states: "The sentiment around eCommerce is that, overall, apps will see continuous increases as a result of COVID-19. With retail stores closed, consumers are 30.6% more likely to purchase online than they were a year ago.41 Since 24% of consumers express discomfort with in-person shopping at the mall for at least the next six months, it’s primetime for apps and online shopping."

Pandemic-Thriving Apps

Bugsnag also categorized a group of apps considered to be "rebounders" — which are expected to see an uptick as the economy improves, and businesses re-open and resume normal operations — such as consumer services, hospitality and transportation.

"Error monitoring paints an insightful picture into business performance and demonstrates consumer trends," Smith added. "Engineering organizations can standardize on compelling metrics and key performance indicators, such as critical and target stability goals, for their applications."

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