Monthly downloads leapt as high as 700 million as working from home became increasingly common.
With 2020 in the rear-view mirror, we can gauge the true impact of COVID-19 on the Business & Productivity app space, and it was truly remarkable. Our State of Mobile Report reveals that consumers across the world installed Business and Productivity apps 7.1 billion times in 2020 – up 35% from 2019.
Predictably, the biggest surge began in mid-March 2020 when shelter-in-place became the norm across many regions. At this time, millions of employees were restricted from visiting their offices and had to find new ways of collaborating from home. While there was a surge in the spring, Business & Productivity app downloads remained high, as they were a consistent area of focus for the rest of the year and beyond.
Change at the Top: Video Meeting Apps Dominate the 2020 Rankings
Work from home orders didn’t just impact the volume of downloads. They also changed the type of apps people installed. In 2019, the chart was dominated by perennial products such as WhatsApp Business, Gmail, Chrome and Microsoft Word.
But in 2020, the top three apps of 2020 all enabled video calling: Zoom Cloud Meetings, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams. This was clearly due to new ways of working and socializing at home. Not one of these three appeared in the top 20 Business or Productivity apps by downloads in 2019. Zoom’s own numbers reflect the phenomenal surge in demand. In January 2020, it was hosting 10 million video meeting participants a day. By March, it was up to 200 million daily meeting participants. Zoom did well to remain in the #1 slot given that Google decided to make all meetings free in April. Its Meet product was already adding more than 2 million new users a day before Google made this decision.
Google, Microsoft, ZOOM and Adobe Drove the Most Downloads of Business and Productivity Apps in 2020
While top publishers indeed mirrored top apps — Zoom Cloud Meetings, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams — Adobe rounded out the top 4 publishers with the largest download footprint of Business and Productivity apps in 2020 due to longstanding success in its desktop-turned mobile document cloud apps.
Cisco and Adobe are incumbent companies in the productivity space prior to smartphones that made good progress modifying their historic products for the mobile channel. Cisco’s big success was Cisco WebEx Meetings. Meanwhile, Adobe reached #14 in the 2020 chart with its Adobe Acrobat Reader app. The importance of mobile to the company’s long-term strategy was unveiled in September when Adobe announced ‘”the first step in a multi-year vision for PDF”. The update introduced breakthrough new tech that landed first in the free Adobe Acrobat Reader mobile app.
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