Downloads for Business category apps like Zoom and Microsoft Teams surged by approximately 132 percent in Europe during 2020 to 705.8 million, Sensor Tower Store Intelligence estimates show, making it the fastest-growing category last year by installs.
The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns in Europe sparked a large increase in downloads for apps that enabled consumers to work from home and connect with others. Overall, app installs in Europe rose by 17.3 percent year-over-year in 2020 to 28.4 billion, while user spending increased by 31.7 percent Y/Y to $14.8 billion. In the Business category, Zoom ranked as the No. 1 app for downloads, accumulating 124.7 million installs in the region, up 2,670 percent from 2019. Microsoft Teams, meanwhile, ranked No. 2 with 60.4 million downloads, and Google Meet rounded out the top three with 38.4 million.
Medical apps, which includes many of the COVID-19 contact tracing apps such as NHS COVID-19 and Immuni, ranked as the No. 2 fastest-growing category, with downloads rising by close to 85 percent Y/Y to 176.7 million. The Books category ranked No. 3 for growth, with installs increasing by approximately 46 percent Y/Y to 278.2 million.
There were just four categories that saw a decline in 2020, and they were perhaps the most predictable during the pandemic. Downloads for Sports, Music, Navigation, and Travel apps all fell, with Travel in particular hurt the most, as new installs dropped by 20.5 percent.
Games ranked as the top category by overall downloads, with installs surging by 18.8 percent Y/Y to 12.5 billion. Utilities ranked No. 2 for downloads, with installs increasing by 9.3 percent to 2.2 billion, while Photo & Video ranked No. 3, with downloads up 10.5 percent Y/Y to 1.5 billion.
The Business category was also the fastest-riser for user spending, with revenue increasing by approximately 116 percent Y/Y to $137 million. The second fastest growing category was Health & Fitness, with revenue up by more than 70 percent Y/Y yo $544.2 million, while Photo & Video rounded out the top three, as user spending rose by 59.6 percent Y/Y to $527.5 million.
The largest category by revenue in Europe was Games, which saw player spending increase by 28.5 percent Y/Y to $9.6 billion. It was followed by Entertainment at No. 2, which was up by 49.6 percent Y/Y to $715.3 million, and Social Networking at No. 3, with revenue rising by 23.3 percent Y/Y to $651.4 million.
The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns shook up the market in 2020, as consumers isolated at home looked to their mobile devices for anything from entertainment and education to shopping and health and fitness. But while the pandemic is an obvious catalyst for much of the growth in the market, there were also other factors at play that enabled it to occur. The Finance category was able to achieve growth thanks to the abundance of fintech startups that have emerged over the past several years, while a mix of political events and concerns around fake news helps spur on the growth of News apps. In many cases, the lockdowns were the spark to ignite the trends we were already seeing: increased mobile usage for nearly all facets of life.