Mobile users turn to yoga apps to de-stress during lockdown

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Mobile users turned to calming yoga, recipe and painting-by-numbers apps as stress and anxiety levels rose during the lockdown period, with use soaring by almost half (45%, 45% and 44% respectively), according to new research from Uswitch.com, the comparison and switching service.

Reading and audiobook apps such as Kindle and Audible saw their use rise among four in ten consumers (41%), while usage of language-learning apps like Duolingo increased by over a quarter (29%), and meditation apps (Headspace, Calm) grew by a third (34%).

Almost four in five (80%) adults working from home say their mental health has suffered during lockdown, a study by Nuffield Health found last week, while the Office for National Statistics revealed that two in five (39%) couples have reported higher levels of anxiety since measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 were introduced.

With gyms being closed across the UK, a third (35%) of mobile users used fitness apps, such as Strava, more frequently for exercise motivation. 

Consumers also turned to food delivery apps after restaurants shut their doors because of the pandemic, with searches for Deliveroo increasing 113% since the lockdown began. Closed high street shops resulted in a 270% surge in people searching for the online greeting card service Moonpig and a 257% increase in interest in FreePrints, the photo printing app.

Meanwhile, mobile users turned their backs on many of the apps they used regularly before lockdown. Travel, hotel booking, mobile parking, airline and restaurant apps saw the biggest drop in usage. Interest in accommodation booking app Airbnb fell 72% since before lockdown, and airline apps became the most frequently deleted apps from people’s phones as consumers stay home. 

Table 1 – Most and least popular apps during lockdown

Most popular mobile apps during lockdown

Category

Increase in usage

Example

Increase in interest

Video calling

78%

Zoom

1,567%

Messaging

63%

WhatsApp

127%

TV and film streaming

56%

Disney+

335%

Social media

53%

TikTok

156%

Work

51%

Microsoft Teams

1,011%

News

51%

BBC News

83%

Yoga

45%

Daily Yoga

156%

Recipes

45%

BBC Good Food

100%

Paint by numbers

44%

Pixel Art

150%

Music

43%

Spotify

22%

Least popular mobile apps during lockdown

Category

Decrease in usage

Example

Decrease in interest

Travel

77%

Trainline

91%

Hotel booking

75%

Booking.com

77%

Mobile parking

74%

Ringgo

89%

Airlines

73%

Ryanair

69%

Restaurant

67%

OpenTable

91%

Cinema

66%

Vue

94%

Directions

65%

Google Maps

56%

Review sites

57%

TripAdvisor

81%

Automobile rescue

55%

AA

65%

Fantasy football

44%

Fantasy Premier League

95%

Source: Uswitch.com

Source: Uswitch.com, data correct as of 25.06.20

Rehan Ali, mobiles expert at Uswitch.com, comments:“Lockdown turned our routine on its head, affecting the way we work, socialise and the apps we use every day. 

“For the millions of people who had more free time, many turned to cooking, yoga or stimulating our creativity with paint-by-numbers apps to tackle the stress and anxiety that some people are feeling while being confined to our homes.

“A lot of people used the lockdown to learn new skills, with more mobile users on language-learning apps. Others spent their time listening to audiobooks and relaxing with meditation apps.

“Regardless of what your interests are, there is almost certainly an app for that, but choosing the right one can sometimes seem overwhelming. Browse the relevant app stores, compare what’s available, decide how much you’re willing to pay, and take the time to read up on reviews before taking the plunge.”

Chris Price
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