The Impact of a Nationwide Quarantine on App Store Downloads - COVID-19 in Italy

Ariel Michaeli Ariel Michaeli
March 19, 2020, 3:15 PM ET #covid-19

To slow down the spread of the novel coronavirus, Italy ordered the entire country to stay at home on March 9th. A week into the nationwide quarantine, we can see its impact on App Store downloads.

Mobile Downloads Index in Italy

With millions at home, having only technology to keep businesses going and people connected, it's expected that downloads for some types of apps would grow, but what we're seeing right now is far higher than our expectation.

We'll break down all the trends we're following in Italy in this report using the Mobile Download Index for the country and our App Intelligence.

The Impact Across App Categories

Full quarantine means all businesses that can are now working from home and conducting meetings virtually. That's why it's no surprise that the Business category, home to apps like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, is seeing the biggest surge. Although "big" isn't enough to describe this growth. For context, the Index starts at 100, so a value of 200 would mean downloads doubled among popular apps.

As you can see below, the business category is now getting close to 1,000. That would be the highest Index value we've ever recorded, and also indicate a 10x increase in downloads for the category.

But business isn't the only category to see a spike. Here are the top six categories by relative growth over the last 90 days.

The categories with the most download growth in Italy's App Store

Beyond business meetings, people need social interaction, so it's no surprise that these categories are getting the most downloads. What's interesting is that games aren't higher on the list. We can interpret this growth to show that there is increased demand for games, but it isn't what people are doing right now.

Here's how all of the categories we index for Italy have changed:

Mobile Download Index changes for all categories in Italy

Travel is the biggest loser here, and not just because people can't fly anywhere but also because staying at home means there's no need for apps like Uber, which have lost more than 50% of downloads since the order went into effect.

The Most Downloaded Apps in Italy Right Now

Normally, the top charts in Italy are dominated by games, but since the wide stay at home that's no longer the case. Instead, communications apps have taken over.

Here are the top 10 most downloaded apps in Italy right now, and their downloads in Italy and worldwide since the country went into full quarantine on March 9th:

The most downloaded apps in Italy and estimated downloads

In uncertain times some thrive while others fight to survive, and these trends are a clear indication of that. But there's something you can do! If you have an app in any of the categories, now's a great time to promote it.

Whether you have a lot of time to spend, or just a little, optimizing your app's keywords could help with discovery and downloads right now. Try our ASO tools for free.

We're continuing to monitor trends around the world and will post more insights as we find them.


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