How Mobile Apps Can Help Tech Startups Tide Over Covid-19?
Does it make sense to invest in a new mobile app idea when economic prospects are so bleak?
We recently got a question along those lines from a couple of long time startup clients. The pandemic has extracted a heavy cost on economies around the world. But it has been particularly severe on startups. Startup Genome has done a stellar job of recording this impact.
Having said that, if previous financial crises are any measure, there’s a lot that startups can take heart from. For example, did you know that many of today’s businesses took birth during a recession? Or that, more than 50 tech unicorns, including venerated names such as Airbnb, Asana, and Quora, were launched in the 2007-2009 recession. The collective value of these tech companies today is close to $150 billion.
What Does This Mean for Your Startup?
These are tough times, yes, but they also present tech startups with opportunities to initiate new conversations with their audience and look at their market with a different lens, one that is attuned to the changes caused by Covid-19. That also ties in with our clients’ original question – is now the right time to invest in new mobile apps?
We answer that by delving into why the pandemic is making mobile apps more important than ever before, which business mobile app ideas you can explore, and why now might be a good time to invest in mobile apps.
Why Mobile Apps?
The overall time spent on mobile devices has shot up dramatically as more people are confined to their homes because of Covid-19. In China, when lockdowns started in January, the average time spent on mobile devices increased by 25% to 5 hours a day.
You could argue this would go back to normal once the world gets a grip on Covid-19. But with a vaccine being some distance away, apart from doubts over its effectiveness, governments around the world are unlikely to do away with lockdowns completely.
Instead, localised lockdowns might be imposed to contain Covid-19 hotspots as and when they develop. What’s also for certain is that social distancing and working, learning, and ordering from home will govern our lives for the near future. In other words, people will rely on their mobiles devices more than they ever have.
7 Business Mobile App Ideas for Covid-19
As the graph shows, engagement for certain app categories shot up exponentially as countries went into varying degrees of lockdown January onwards. These and a few other categories offer fertile ground for planting your mobile app idea. They include,
1) Logistics – Pickup and delivery apps are helping consumers get essentials and non-essentials delivered to their doorstep, making delivery services a lifeline for consumers going forward. Case in point, Cheetah, a company offering contactless pickup and delivery of food and related supplies, recently raised $36 million.
2) Online Learning – Schools and colleges were among the first to close as the Covid-19 threat unraveled. But even when educational institutes do open, it’s unlikely to be business as usual. As this World Economic Forum story points out, a hybrid model that fuses offline and online learning will become the new norm instead.
3) Grocery – Covid-19 is forcing people to minimize the need for venturing out of their homes. An increase in the use of grocery delivery apps is an obvious by-product of this behavioral change. To wit, the average daily downloads in April for the Walmart Grocery app increased by a whopping 460% compared to January. Similarly, Amazon said its online grocery order capacity grew by over 60% during the Covid-19 outbreak.
4) Telemedicine – At a time when healthcare professionals and infrastructure are stretched to capacity, telemedicine can act as the much-needed force multiplier. Mobile healthcare apps allow health professionals to offer quality care to their patients without exposing either party to Covid-19. Downloads for AmWell, an e-healthcare app, have gone up by 400% since the pandemic began. Telemedicine is gaining government attention too as the US FCC recently established a $200 million Covid-19 Telehealth Program to help healthcare providers with telehealth infrastructure.
5) eCommerce – Apart from essentials like groceries and medicines, consumers living in Covid-19 affected areas are also relying heavily on ecommerce for their shopping needs. An excellent example is how Alibaba and JD.com came to Wuhan’s rescue during the world’s harshest Covid-19 lockdown. Taking your business online and investing in a mobile app will help you ride this ecommerce wave that is poised for explosive growth.
6) Food Delivery – Restaurants were among the first businesses to suffer because of Covid-19 lockdowns. And when you consider that the restaurant business doesn’t lend itself well to social distancing, it becomes obvious that online food delivery apps are the way to go. Research firm Second Measure reported that American spending on meal delivery services shot up by 70% in March year-on-year. The average order size too went up by 24%. With apps of food delivery businesses such as GrubHub and UberEats reporting record downloads and usage, investing in a food delivery app can payoff in the Covid-19 world.
7) Fitness & Wellness – Similar to restaurants, gyms and health centres have taken to digital platforms like a duck to water. Users too have responded in kind as long hours of isolation in homes and behind the screen working can take their toll. App Annie, a mobile data analytics platform, reported a 40% increase in health and fitness app downloads. From home exercising to yoga, meditation, and mental health, this sector will witness tremendous growth.
You can consider these business mobile app ideas as a starting point from where you can refine and narrow down an idea in keeping with your target audience, intended market, and competition.
Why Now is a Good Time to Invest in Your Mobile App Idea?
So far, we’ve talked about why mobile apps are essential in the pandemic era and which business areas are ripe for mobile app development in this changing world. But is it worth investing your precious capital in, especially with the looming uncertainty of Covid-19?
Yes, and here’s why.
1) Attack is the best defence – It doesn’t matter how much you cut costs, implement wage cuts or rely on government help, the key to surviving and thriving during these hard times is to go all out and create a unique proposition for your startup. Talk to your customers, brainstorm with employees, and hash out different ideas for an MVP. That’ll help free you from the shackles of uncertain VC funding and build something that earns a steady revenue. You can also leverage the fact that building an MVP is cost-effective as it involves only the most important features.
2) Agility is your greatest strength – Unlike larger established organizations, startups can quickly make changes to their value proposition based on market feedback and conditions. This agility can help you respond faster and minimize the adverse effect of any missteps. This also gives you greater leeway in experimenting with various features and trying out different marketing campaigns. A market in a recession also tends to be more forgiving of mistakes, letting you adopt a more measured and cost-conscious approach to mobile app development.
3) Good deals are aplenty – As with any downturn, you can expect to score great deals when looking to hire app developer teams to create your mobile app. The key though is to ensure the developer or company you choose has a proven track record in delivering quality mobile apps.
4) Take the initiative – Waiting for Covid-19 to blow over might be dicey as no one knows when and how the pandemic will subside. In fact, waiting might turn out much riskier than betting on an idea and going full steam ahead. Risk is at the heart of every tech startup and if you manage to weather the Covid-19 storm by going on the offensive now, a huge windfall awaits you once the economy recovers.
Over to You
Have you made up your mind on how to steer your mobile app business during the Covid-19 pandemic?
If you haven’t because of lingering doubts, please get in touch with us. Our expert mobile app development team would be glad to answer all your queries. And in case you are ready and looking to hire dedicated developer, our mobility experts are just a phone call or email away.
As a leading app development company in India, we shepherd your mobile app idea right from conceptualization to planning, development, deployment, and maintenance.
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