Huawei data around most downloaded app categories of past year highlights key trends in consumer habits

New data released today from Huawei AppGallery reveals new trends in Brits’ app habits over the past year as they navigated a turbulent year of lockdown and restrictions. The data, from March 2020 until now, includes the most popular app categories per month on the platform and reveals the moods and (sometimes hopeful) interests of Brits as they moved through the year.

Sports easing lockdown boredom 

A testament to life before the pandemic, maps and navigation apps were the most downloaded apps from January to March 2020, as Brits enjoyed travelling around the country and visiting friends and family using apps including Trainline and Trainpal. Staycations were swapped for sports after the nation went into lockdown however, with sports the most downloaded category in April (seeing a 74% rise in app downloads compared to March) as more users turned into armchair fans to enjoy sports at home on apps including Premier League and LiveScore: Live Sports Scores.

Surge in summer travel plans

As lockdown restrictions began to ease during summer, shopping apps enjoyed a big boost in May 2020 (an increase of 914% in app downloads from March), as people began to scroll apps for summer clothes. When lockdown restrictions further eased in July, many flocked to the UK’s coast and countryside for summer staycations, contributing to a big boost in maps and navigation apps from July-September 2020 – an increase of 506% in downloads from June to September.

This season also saw hopeful Brits making travel plans, with travel and local apps seeing a surge in downloads over the late summer period, including a rise of 365% in downloads in October from July 2020. Top apps in this category include, Skyscanner and Ryanair.

Brits organising their finances in the winter

As the colder weather arrived and new lockdown restrictions were announced in October, many Brits used the extra time at home to get their finances in order ahead of the costly festive season. Downloads of finance apps including Curve, Starling Bank and saw a sharp rise in October 2020, an increase of 229% on the previous month, and a further rise of 45% in November 2020. Finance was the most downloaded category in October and November, and the third most downloaded category in December, after shopping and food & drink.

December drives retail category

The festive season saw consumers turning to shopping apps to stock uponChristmas food and gifts from home, downloading apps including M&S, John Lewis and ASOS. There was a 107% increase in shopping app downloads in November, and a further rise of 81% in December. The online retail category continued to enjoy a boost in January 2021, as Brits made the most of the post-Christmas sales.

2021 sees rise in takeaway and entertainment apps

After December 2020, the Food & drink category saw the highest downloads in February 2021, as Brits were again in lockdown and turning to takeaway apps including Just Eat and Nandos. The beginning of this year was also strong for the music & audio category, which saw the second highest number of downloads in January and February 2021, as users listened to favourite music and playlists to see them through the start of the year. Many were also downloading entertainment apps including Sky Go, UKTV Play and NOW TV to enjoy during the post-Christmas lockdown, with this category the third most popular for downloads in January 2021.

“The last 12 months have been strong for Huawei AppGallery, with high numbers of app downloads across key categories including sports, shopping and finance. Huawei AppGallery, which already offers many of the nation’s most loved brands including M&S, John Lewis, ASOS and Just Eat, is rapidly expanding as we continue to meet the needs of our UK users,” said Graham Long, director ecosystem development, Huawei UK Consumer Business Group. “This data reveals some interesting trends in consumer’s habits over what has undoubtedly been a challenging year for so many.”

Top app categories:

The top app categories overall for the past year are sports, shopping, and music & audio apps, as the nation turned to mobile apps for entertainment and stocking up on essentials during the various lockdowns of the past 12 months. The top ten most downloaded app categories of the past year are as follows:

  1. Sports
  2. Shopping
  3. Music & Audio
  4. Entertainment
  5. Finance
  6. Food & drink
  7. Maps & navigation
  8. Productivity
  9. Travel & local
  10. News & magazines