London-based Gismart, developer and publisher of entertainment apps and games, shared data that outlined the increase in mobile app and game usage while people are staying inside and self-isolating because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are seeing a uniform increase in the number of active users across Gismart games and entertainment apps, and a blurring in weekly seasonality amongst countries that have introduced self-isolation,” said Ivan Ruppo, CMO of Gismart.

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Gismart’s study revealed that:

  • Active users of apps and games has increased by 200%
  • the average length of gaming sessions has increased by 20%

Week blends into the weekend

As people shelter at home, their daily routine relegated to a single location, the concept of time and days have blended together, and Gismart noted that because “weekly seasonality is now blurred, users are active throughout the week, as well as on the weekend.”

Downloads of mobile products continue to grow exponentially, with a particular rise in two European countries:

  • Italy, downloads increased by 50%
  • Spain, downloads increased by 40%

“As people spend more time at home, their regular routine is disrupted and they are forced to find alternative methods of entertainment,” Ruppo said.Rather than frequenting cafes, bars or cinemas, people are increasingly moving toward mobile games and applications, a trend so far most noticeable in China.”

App activity jumped when quarantine introduced

Ruppo referred to Gismart’s products and said, “From the moment quarantine was introduced, our hyper-casual games started to see an increase in downloads and engagement. Interestingly, it has been music-themed games and apps, in particular, Real Guitar and Beat Maker Go, that proved to be the most popular with Italians. We deduce that this is due to the characteristics of the culture and we have received a number of videos where our users utilize the apps to sing directly from the balconies of their apartments. The Spanish are similar in this way.”

China’s surge

“China has so far seen the biggest increase in usage, but other countries have begun to catch up during March, Ruppo said. “Interestingly, since China’s strict quarantine measures were eased, its number of active users has begun to slowly revert to its original level, but usage still remains significantly high. We expect to see a similar trend in other countries once it is safe for people to go about their everyday lives.”

The countries that were hit the hardest initially saw significant jumps in mobile app usage starting in mid-February: China, Spain, and Italy.

The countries downloading music apps in percentage increase:

  • Spain 171%
  • Italy 98%
  • France 27%

Apps and games a distraction during pandemic

“During this very chaotic and uncertain time, people are naturally trying to find ways to alleviate stress, or find forms of escapism, and we’ve noticed a particular spike in the US for our meditation and mindfulness app, Music Zen,” Ruppo said. “During March, we’ve seen a 30% increase in active users and 10% in downloads in comparison with the previous month.”

“We are living in unprecedented times, and with it, facing unprecedented challenges,” said Zeev Farbman, CEO of Lightricks, developer of photo and editing apps. “With normal life halted and offices and schools closed, parents, children, and people of all ages are looking for creative outlets and new ways to remain healthy, calm, and positive while staying home.”

Farbman continued, “Consumers are picking up new creative hobbies such as learning music, a new language, or how to edit and create beautiful visual content with their phones. Our apps (Pixaloop, Quickshot, Videoleap, Photofox) have seen an uptick in downloads and consumer interest since December 2019 when the Coronavirus first appeared.”

The trend has continued, Farbman said, “with a 20% increase throughout March, and hope it reflects the fact that people are doing their part to keep safe.”

Gismart offers more than 500 million downloads of mobile games and entertainment-focused apps.

Editor’s note: This article was updated to clarify Gismart’s number of apps available and the types of apps it offers and to correct the first name of the CEO of Lightricks.

Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto