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UK consumers go crazy for cryptocurrency apps in third lockdown

Conferencing, cryptocurrency and greetings cards were among the biggest growing apps in the first quarter of this year in the UK as consumers grappled with another period of lockdown.

AppAnnie this week shared new stats for Q1, looking at app downloads, usage and consumer spend in a number of key global markets.

Its ranking of the UK’s top apps in terms of downloads contains few surprises, with big guns like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, WhatsApp and TikTok taking the first four places. Fifth spot went to UberEATS and sixth to Instagram, proving what we already knew: lots of people like to order food, photograph it, and then brag about it on the Internet.

But more interesting is the company’s ranking of what it terms breakout apps, that is, those that experienced the biggest increase in downloads compared with the previous quarter. From that list we can discern that people in the UK developed quite an interest in finance in Q1, with three of the 10 most downloaded apps relating to buying and selling cryptocurrency; Binance was the leader in third place, with Coinbase and Crypto.com coming lower down the chart. On a semi-related note, second-hand fashion marketplace app Vinted was second on the list, presumably because it’s easier to make a few quid flogging old shoes than it is to get your head around blockchain.

Top of the shop though was Signal Private Messenger, which is best known as a rival to WhatsApp and has grown in stature of late since its Facebook-owned competitor enraged users with proposed changes to its privacy policy. Another heavily encrypted messaging service Telegram also featured in the ranking, which shows that UK punters are developing at least a certain level of scepticism over more established platforms.

It was heartening to see online greetings card specialist Moonpig on the list too. The fact that all the shops are shut is no excuse to forget Great Auntie Doris’s birthday, after all.

Looking at consumer spend also makes interesting, if fairly predictable, reading, with Disney+ topping the charts in the UK, followed by YouTube. Anyone would think people were stuck at home with children (or even just themselves) to entertain. Oh right…

YouTube switched places in the spending ranking with infamous dating app Tinder, which dropped one place to number three. The ban on socialising probably played its part there, but clearly there were still plenty of people at home swiping right and looking forward to less socially distant times to come. Equally, you could argue that being locked down with the love of your life for weeks at a time isn’t necessarily all that it’s cracked up to be. Another dating app, Bumble, also made the top 10.

The headline figure from AppAnnie’s latest report was that UK consumers spent north of $1 billion on apps on iOS and Google Play in the first three months of the year, an increase of 60% year-on-year (Q1 2020 being predominantly a pre-Covid time; anyone remember what that was like?), making the January-March quarter the UK’s biggest ever in terms of app spend.

The UK was the world’s fifth largest market by consumer spend in Q1, surpassed only by the US, Japan, China (whose figures are based purely on iOS data), and South Korea.

  • TechXLR8


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