Coronavirus Pandemic – Implications on the World Economy

  • The past two months of 2020 have altered life dramatically for almost every country and nearly every individual.
  • China's status as the epicenter of major supply chains is facing a major blow, hence causing significant changes to businesses and consumer behavior.
  • The crash that China is facing due to Coronavirus Pandemic has put a strain on multiple industries within the country, but multinational companies that are operating out of and doing business in China are feeling the aftereffects too.

As Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak surges from one country to another, the epicenter of it all, China, faces a major blow to its economy. China is a big whale in the sea, with millions of business going on with so many countries. So naturally, when China’s economy crashes down, the entire world feels the shock of it too.

The industries that got severely affected include Global tourism and retail. As per the surveys, Chinese tourism adds major value to the income for many markets. But due to the Coronavirus Pandemic lockdown situation, between January and February, the daily departures and arrivals for domestic and international flights in China have reduced quite dramatically, from an average of 15,071 flights to 2,004.

Now, this is some serious decline in the tourism history that we are witnessing!

In addition to that, several retailers have temporarily closed down their stores on various locations, with Apple announcing that it won’t meet its Q1 revenue guidance due to disorder and chaos happening across its supply chains in China.

Other major retailers like Starbucks, Uniqlo, and Nike have also temporarily shut down their stores, while major public events and tech conferences are getting postponed or cancelled, while minor retailers are being hit hard as foot traffic falters.

These are just some of the examples of local and global businesses and how they have been altered since the coronavirus outbreak, but in these times of general chaos and mass distress, there are some areas where companies have found opportunities to explore new, and better technologies! According to AppAnnie, mobile techs are amongst the ones that have seen a surge in demand worldwide.

The main reason for this exponential rise in the popularity of mobile technologies is that due to a general lockdown situation, different businesses encourage their employees to work from home. Important expos have been postponed, flights have been canceled, schools have been shut down, malls, stores, bars, gyms, and restaurants have shut their doors and people are just quarantined. This kind of forced curfew situation has made people turn to excessive mobile and internet usage to stay connected and carry out their various tasks through different smartphone applications.

All the Business, Education, Games, Social, Entertainment, Food Delivery, Finance, and Dating apps have seen a massive surge in their usage since coronavirus has hit the world. This unearths the impact of this pandemic on the way we conduct our lives each day.

The impact of coronavirus has manifested in different phases. With the emergence of new outbreaks, governments and businesses respond with proper confinement measures. China faced the first hit, and it was followed by Italy, Japan, and South Korea. Later, France and Germany joined the “corona bandwagon,” and now there are indications of the impact on the mobile economy in the US and UK also. It is an inadvertent situation, with this general state of quarantine, people are automatically turning to mobiles – for work, pleasure, leisure, or to seek knowledge about the pandemic itself. Students are encouraged to use mobiles and laptops for online classes while desperate homemakers are frantically turning towards some freelance jobs in case of economic crunch, which is quite frankly, quite evident!

So basically, this is the life story of almost every person living on this planet these days.

If we look at some statistics (provided by AppAnnie) from China’s lockdown that began in January 2020, there has been a consequent rise in the daily time spent on mobiles in February, which is approximately 5 hours per day on an average. This is quite a leap in comparison to the average in 2019. This raise is of good 30%...only in China.

When Italy followed China's footsteps, it sadly became the second-highest country with confirmed coronavirus positive cases, and needless to say, the average mobile usage jumped at 11% by March 2020.

The countries in which coronavirus pandemic manifested in the third phase including Spain have seen a 5% surge in the average mobile usage, while France was at 7% in February 2020 and Germany was at 2%.

After this general overview of average mobile usage in different countries during this pandemic, we now move towards different applications and how their usage surged within two months of the Coronavirus outbreak.

The first and foremost movement that was seen in China was in the surge in the use of Business and Education apps. The closure of cities and the work- from- home along with social distancing policies ensued the usage of these business and education apps, with a rise in daily downloads and total hours spent on official work and studies.

The highest number of iOS business and education app downloads was noted to have occurred in February 2020, when the whole of China was quarantined.

During the principal half of February 2020, Business and Education applications were downloaded at a rate generally twice in comparison to a normal week in 2019. Famous applications used during this time include HUAWEI CLOUD, WeLink, DingTalk, and ZOOM Cloud Gatherings.

There was a comparable pattern developed in Italy after China. Italy was noted to have 400 known coronavirus cases on February 26, 2020, and this turned Italy into the focal point of Europe with 11 towns entering isolation and confinement. By March 7, 2020, more than 4,600 cases had been verified. On March 9, 2020, Italy implemented a complete lockdown. And during this period, 761,000 downloads of Business applications happened across iOS and Google Play in Italy! The jump of downloads was 85% within one week of quarantine and up to 135% from the average weekly level of the 52 weeks prior.

A similar pattern is beginning to rise in different markets as this pandemic is spreading. With numerous organizations in influenced zones embracing telecommuting arrangements, we see employees downloading and using various applications to discuss, team up and video chat to keep working without interference.

Amongst these business apps, as of March 16, 2020 ZOOM Cloud Gatherings positions number 1 among generally speaking iPhone application downloads (overall games and applications) in 35 markets, and number 1 among all Business applications on iPhones in 90 markets!

The 2nd most commonly downloaded apps are of Mobile games. This is understandable because with all recreational means being shut down, people need to do something for entertainment while being quarantined. So, just like it was seen with Business and Education apps, the trend of Mobile game downloads first increased in China.

In February 2020, the average weekly game downloads in China jumped up to 80% as compared to the average weekly download for the whole year of 2019. The average weekly downloads on the iOS app store were approximate 63 Million! This was a leap of 25% as compared to the average weekly downloads in January 2020.

After China, South Korea saw the increased trend of Mobile game downloads. In the third week of February 2020, the average weekly game downloads in South Korea jumped up to 35% compared to the 2019 weekly average, exceeding 15 Million downloads during that week. This was a surge of 25% compared to the average weekly downloads in January 2020.

Now that the US and other European countries are also implementing confinement policies with social isolation measures, it is expected that the Mobile game usage will increase more with time, and on a global level.

The games that topped the charts by their popularity and number of downloads include Slap Kings, Woodturning, Draw Climber and Brain Test: Tricky Puzzles.

After gaming apps, consumers all over the world turned to social media and video streaming apps for entertainment and connectivity purposes in these times of social distancing and general dread.

Amongst these apps, TikTok saw a surge in China, with the average time spent per user as well as total time spent in the app on Android phones following the initial coronavirus outbreak. The first week of March 2020 is marked as TikTok’s biggest week ever in China, with users spending over 3 billion hours in total on the app, which is a leap of 130% from the weekly average in 2019. This happened because of more consumers accessing the platform, and then those users spend more time on it in general.

The average time spent on video streaming apps during the months of the coronavirus pandemic is noted to be around 405 million hours in the first week of March. At that time, the coronavirus outbreak unfurled globally, and with that, the general market, government, and commercial response also escalated. Two video streaming apps showed a rapid growth as they found their place in the list of the ten most famous video streaming apps. This shows that users are looking for something "different" from their regular go-to streaming apps. These two apps are Roku and is a completely free streaming service with no subscriptions, and its usage has seen a whopping 75% increase in the time spent a week over week on Android phones in the USA, all in the first week of March 2020.

Not only this- statistics show that the time spent on Pluto-tv during this week was 2.5 times the average weekly time spent throughout 2019 and 2020. This has happened because of a wider audience using the app as well as the average user spending more time on the app, and for video streaming apps this is equivalent to streaming more content. Now where there is demand, there has to be supply too. So, companies are adapting to this desire for more content from home during the coronavirus pandemic by releasing more movies and shows and allowing their smooth streaming.

Next on the list of highest downloads and usage trends are Food and Grocery delivery apps. In these trying times where people are encouraged to stay at home, the need for grocery and food delivery has taken a surge and China, UK, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Italy, the USA, Spain, and France have seen the strongest growth in total sessions. But France met the upward curve during the second week of February, while Spain and the USA saw strong growth in total sessions during the first week of March.

Aside from these trends of escalation, the Ridesharing and Taxi apps have seen a decline overall in the USA, UK, China, Japan, France, and South Korea. This is because of the increasing coronavirus cases, people are trying to avoid person-to-person contact or contact in closed, confined spaces.

A brief analysis of the world economy in general and detailed insights of the rapid demand and growth of the mobile industry gives a very good idea about the impact of Coronavirus pandemic on the masses. It is not only affecting people physically; it is also having an impact on human minds. Everyone is panicked, and a general sense of an impending doom prevails. It is a very serious situation, with the world economy and almost everything else on the brink of tatters. Let us just hope and pray that this pandemic ends soon, and the world gets back to its normal self again.

Read next: The Latest Tech That Can Help You Work Smarter, Not Harder, As You Work Remotely (infographic)
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