From Zoom to Houseparty: The World’s Most Popular Apps During Isolation Revealed

The coronavirus pandemic has seen an unprecedented change in the way we live our lives. With the governments imposing lockdowns in countries around the world, we’ve relied on our homes, our families and the internet to keep us entertained and socially connected. In fact, the internet has become a key instrument in helping us get through lockdown and maintain our connections with the outside world. 

People around the world are now relying on the internet, streaming services, apps, livestreams and video calls to maintain a semblance of normality in very uncertain times. It’s inevitable, therefore, that certain apps might see an explosion in popularity during this time. Read on for a breakdown of some of the biggest apps that have emerged or gained new popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic:

The most popular apps according to social media users

As part of their recent campaign looking at the popularity of apps through the emojis used when talking about those apps, Carphone Warehouse investigated the most popular apps that have emerged during the current coronavirus pandemic. Using social listening tool Brandwatch, they found that, by number of overall mentions, the most popular apps are:

  1. Microsoft Teams (117,000 mentions)
  2. Zoom (43,000)
  3. Houseparty (19,000)
  4. Disney+ (19,000)
  5. Duolingo (2,646)
  6. Headspace (2,021)
  7. Calm (220)
  8. Nextdoor (55)

People are positive when talking about COVID-19’s most popular apps

Brandwatch can also analyse the way words and emojis are used in the posts to determine whether they display a positive sentiment or a negative one. The sentiment analysis found that people are generally positive when talking about these apps, with positive posts outweighing negative ones by a wide margin. 

Disney+ had the lowest percentage of negative mentions, at only 2.17%. It’s possible that the nostalgia factor of Disney has inspired this slew of positive commentary, with users making the most of their time indoors to enjoy light children’s entertainment. It could also be that users are sharing their nostalgic childhood movies with their own children and reliving the memories that come with it.

Sentiment analysis of other apps are as follows:

  • Microsoft Teams: 91.7% positive
  • Zoom: 89.4% positive
  • Houseparty: 92.86% positive
  • Duolingo: 80% positive
  • Calm: 90.3% positive
  • Nextdoor: 87.5% positive
  • Headspace: 71.5% postive

General trends in popular apps

Looking at the top three most popular apps, Microsoft Teams is in first position with 117,000 mentions on Twitter. The app is used the most on Thursdays between 8pm and 9pm, with people using the app to show support to the NHS in the UK in the ‘Clap for Carers’ initiative. In fact, ‘Emergency Services’ is a top trending topic while the most-used emoji is ‘clapping hands’. 

The second-most popular app is Zoom, with 43,000 mentions. Zoom saw consistent peaks in mentions typically occurring Wednesdays and Fridays at 10am. Top emojis include ‘face with tears of joy’, ‘smiling face with heart eyes’ and ‘thumbs up’. That said, there was a 45% increase in posts that express sadness over the past two weeks. Are people becoming disenchanted with the virtual meetings app?

Third in the list is popular video app Houseparty, with 19,000 mentions. It sees a spike on Wednesdays at 10pm, although there are a couple of peaks on Sunday as well. The app also saw a massive peak in mentions over 3 and 4 April 2020, at 50+ mentions each time, with one of the trending topics being ‘delete Houseparty’. That said, ‘ready for Houseparty’ was another trending topic, with top emojis being ‘face with tears of joy’ and ‘exploding head’.

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Nixon Kanali

Tech journalist based in Nairobi. I track and report on tech and African startups. Founder and Editor of TechTrends Media. Nixon is also the East African tech editor for Africa Business Communities. Send tips to

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