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The use of digital tools has spiked across industries during the coronavirus pandemic, an Amplitude report found. The product intelligence platform provider’s report, released in late June, analyzed digital trends from more than 600 products in five key industries from early February to early May.

SEE: The new normal: What work will look like post-pandemic (TechRepublic Premium)

The five industries analyzed included consumer tech, B2B software as a service (SaaS), streaming media, e-commerce and marketplaces, and Fintech. Across all industries, the report identified unusual growth compared to the monthly average, indicating an unprecedented shift.

“As the CEO of a company that serves over 40,000 digital products, I routinely talk about sea changes affecting our customers,” said Spenser Skates, CEO and co-founder of Amplitude, in a blog post.

“Digital trends can take years of buildup and several waves to reach ubiquity. COVID-19 changed that pattern overnight,” Skates said.

Trends by industry

Image: Amplitude

While all industries saw a marked increase in monthly users, each had different inflection points. E-commerce appeared to be the first to surge, followed by consumer tech, streaming media, and B2B SaaS. Fintech didn’t have a clear point of increase, but did see a rise in volume overall, according to the report.

  • E-commerce

With an inflection point in early February, e-commerce almost immediately took off as more people stayed home due to COVID-19. With physical stores closing, consumers naturally turned to online shopping, as displayed in the report.

The average daily active users (DAUs) grew by 33% between late February and mid-April, with the growth sustaining throughout May. Daily new users (DNUs) witnessed a spike in March, peaking at 72% above the baseline, with an average shift of 48% right after the shelter in place
orders started, the report found.

Overall usage in terms of actions (event volume) experienced consistent increase of 55% on average.

  • Consumer tech

Consumer tech had its inflection point hit in early March, with the average DAUs increasing between the early and later part of the month. That growth sustained into May, the report found.

DNUs for consumer tech saw an immediate rise in growth in March, peaking at 58% above the baseline with an average change of 40% once shelter in place orders began. Overall usage in terms of actions saw a consistent increase of 50% on average, according to the research.

  • Streaming media

Shelter in place orders meant that in-person live events, bars, movie theaters, restaurants, and other forms of consumer entertainment shut down. As people realized this shutdown was going to be longer than anticipated, streaming media became paramount, hitting an inflection point in early March.

Streaming media’s average DAUs grew by 52% between early March and mid-April, sustaining into May. DNUs peaked at 64% above the baseline in March, with an average change of 52% after the quarantine orders began.

Overall usage in terms of actions witnessed a sustained increase of 86% on average, the highest percentage across industries, the report found.

  • B2B SaaS

As businesses transitioned from in-office practice to remote work, digital tools became critical for collaboration, which is a top reason B2B SaaS saw such significant growth, according to the report.

With a mid-March inflection point, B2B SaaS had a 19% increase in average DAUs between mid- and late-March, sustaining into May. Collaboration-first SaaS tools tripled active users in that month.

DNUs saw a spike reaching as high as 72% above the baseline average in March, as well as an average change of 48% after shelter in place orders started. Overall usage in terms of actions experienced a sustained increase of 41% on average, the report found.

  • Fintech

The shift to digital banking started well before COVID-19, which is why there wasn’t as huge of a spike during shelter in place.

Average DAUs only grew by 6% between early March and mid-April, with DNUs hitting a high of 41% above the baseline average. Since quarantine began, Fintech saw an average change of 17%.

The overall usage in terms of actions saw the smallest uptick, at 6% on average, the report found.

Trends at the individual company level

Image: Amplitude

While aggregate data is helpful, looking at the trends at an anonymized company and product level displays the extent of the situation, according to the report.

The data unveiled some sample sets of the impact COVID-19 had on individual applications across the five industries. Most businesses saw a sudden positive spike in DAUs, which materialized over the course of two to five days between March 8 and March 22, the report found.

Some organizations saw a severe decrease in use, and others experienced steady increases and steady declines. The variance shows how different organizations adapted to the new normal of social distancing and reduced mobility at different speeds.

Within consumer tech, companies in the Amplitude database saw the highest variance in patterns: Some companies grew DAUs by over 10 times in the span of two weeks, with grocery delivery companies experiencing significant growth.

In e-commerce, some organizations could maintain a spike in new users by as much as three times, while others saw a more gradual decrease back to their baseline.

Media companies, specifically those that streamed live sporting events, witnessed a steep decline, while recorded platforms picked up the slack, experiencing more than 400% DAU growth versus the baseline, the report found.

Overall, the use of digital tools proved to be crucial during this COVID-19 era, with individuals turning to tech for work, socialization, entertainment, and purchasing.

For more, check out The role of digital tools in a post-pandemic world on TechRepublic.

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