Spikes in meditation app sessions may not be related to coronavirus lockdowns

Anne Freier | June 19, 2020

App Business

There’s been a lot of talk about certain types of apps gaining in popularity due to coronavirus-related lockdowns.

One would rightly assume that meditation apps such as Headspace and Calm would see a surge in interest given these challenging times.

But now research from Apptopia reveals that these apps saw a similar rise in popularity as before the outbreak.

According to its data, app sessions across the top 15 mental health apps were up 66% compared to the previous year and monthly active users were 11% higher.

However, the data reveals that this may be due to a poorly performing May 2019 rather than just spiking COVID-19 anxieties.

What’s more, Apptopia did not see any dramatic surges in engagement during the quarantine periods.

But engagement isn’t due to new users but existing users. In fact, downloads of these apps declined 4% year-on-year.

While Calm saw 18% higher installs in May 2020 compared to the January and 23% higher app sessions, the increases follow a generally positive trend line.

The mental health apps that saw the steepest rise in usage in the US were Calm, Headspace, Noon, Reflectly and Relax Melodies.

Calm had 120% more sessions in the US than Headspace.

The findings highlight that despite mediation apps gaining in popularity their success is not necessarily correlated to the pandemic.

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