Users flock to mental wellness apps during COVID-19 lockdown


Mental wellness app downloads surge due to COVID-19. The coronavirus presents no end of challenges for people.
The coronavirus presents no end of challenges for people.
Photo: Fernando @cferdo/Unsplash CC

Alongside the physical health concerns during COVID-19, there’s been a massive uptick in mental health issues like anxiety. Those worries are highlighted by a big surge in mental wellness mobile app downloads, as noted in a new report from app analytics firm Sensor Tower.

The firm notes that the top 10 mental wellness apps experienced a big increase in downloads in April from the pre-lockdown January 2020. In all, apps like Calm, Headspace and Meditopia racked up a total of 10 million downloads last month.

Of the top 10 apps in this category, eight grew their number of monthly downloads in April compared to January. Users downloaded and installed the top 10 mental wellness apps 24.2% more times in April than in January.

Meditation app Calm was the most popular of these apps. It had 1.6 million first-time installs in April across both Android and iOS. The fastest rising app in this area was Relax: Master Your Destiny. It increased its number of downloads by 274 times between January and April, accumulating 223,000 downloads in all.

Mental wellness apps and beyond

“Global demand for mental wellness apps has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns,” Sensor Tower notes in its report. “Consumers are turning to their smartphones more than ever before for everything from entertainment to fitness and shopping, and they’re also seeking support for their mental health during this time. Meditation apps in particular have seen a surge in popularity, but it remains to be seen if use of these apps becomes a permanent habit for these new users, or if, as lockdown restrictions are lifted, consumers decide they no longer need them.”

Lockdown has been a generally good time for mobile apps. “We believe the App Store could possibly experience a tailwind from the actions taken to limit the spread of coronavirus,” wrote Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty back in February. That has proven to be exactly the case. While many apps are doing well, however, the most successful apps have been entertainment services such as games and streaming content, video calling apps like Zoom, and, yes, mental wellbeing apps like Calm.

How have your own mobile app habits changed over the past few months? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.