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How COVID 19 impacts app store search behaviour

App Market Insights

How COVID 19 impacts app store search behaviour

Now people are advised to stay home, we’ve seen lots of movements in the App Stores. Apps like Zoom or Houseparty are making headlines as they are reaching all time high downloads. Brands like Lyft or Waze on the other hand have seen their app downloads decrease significantly over the past two weeks.

To further help you understand how the recent events are impacting activity in the app stores we had a look at how the coronavirus has impacted search behaviour in the Apple App Store in the US, France and Italy.


As part of this analysis we looked at keywords that have gained or lost unusual volume during the past year in the Apple App Store in the US, Italy, France. Then we searched for the keywords that:

  • Hit an all time high since 2016 (keywords for which the volume on March 29th hit an all time high)
  • Gained the most volume in the past two weeks (keywords with a volume over 50 that experienced the highest growth during the past two weeks)
  • Lost the most volume in the past two weeks (high volume keywords that experienced the biggest drop in volume during the past few weeks, filtering out changes in Apple’s auto-suggestion algorithm)
  • Gaming related keywords that were trending in the past two weeks (keywords related to gaming with the highest average volume in the past two weeks)

Note that in this analysis we only focus on keywords that experienced unusual volume movement and gained or lost volume during the past few years and keywords for which AppTweak has consistently tracked the volume history in the past 2 weeks.

Search Behaviour in the App Store in the US

Zoom, google classroom, houseparty, microsoft teams, google hangouts, discord

It doesn’t come as a surprise to see that search terms related to apps that facilitate working from home have hit an all time high in terms of volume. Interestingly ‘Skype’ did not make it to the list as the keyword reached an all time high of 84 back in January 2017.

Also search volume for ‘Houseparty’ and ‘Discord’, apps that facilitate chatting or video chatting with a group of people, has spiked in the last few months as people are looking for different ways to connect with friends or communities.

Keywords that gained most volume in past two weeks

Keywords that gained most volume in past two weeks in the us apple store

Volume for ‘fitness coach’ has grown from 14 on March 1st to 52 on March 27th. The app that ranks #1 on the keyword ‘fitness coach’ actually changed its title on March 1st from ‘Fit Workout & Fitness’ to ‘Fitness Coach’. After the search volume for the keyword started to increase mid-March also other apps like GetFit of 7 Minutes workout updated its metadata. They added the keyword ‘home’ to their title or subtitle but likely added the keyword ‘coach’ to their keyword field as they suddenly started to rank for this keyword. This shows that apps who closely watch trends in the stores and adjust their ASO accordingly can increase their downloads tremendously.

fitness apps update their metadata in response to trends related to coronavirus and covid 19

fitness apps start to rank for 'fitness coach' after adding the keyword to their metadata

The apps Fitness Coach, GetFit and 7 Minutes Workout updated their metadata following the latest trends in app store search behaviour. For example, by targeting the keyword ‘coach’ they gained top rankings and downloads form the keyword ‘fitness coach’

Also keywords like ‘Broadway HD’ or ‘NFL game pass’ increased a lot over the past few weeks. Broadway HD is a streaming service broadcasting theatre performances. NFL Game Pass is not an app by itself, but a feature of the NFL app that allows users to replay games.

Telehealth’ refers to virtual or remote health care. Not surprisingly this keyword has been trending in the past few weeks. Only a few apps including Telehealth by SimplePractice have fully optimized their app towards that keyword.

Warzone’ has also been trending in the United States and other countries as well. There are a few games targeting the keyword ‘warzone’ but none of them are very powerful, leaving tremendous opportunities for other games to rank on this keyword.

Keywords that lost most volume in past two weeks

Keywords that lost most volume in past two weeks in the US app store

Unfortunately keywords related to Travel apps like Klook, Rome2Rio or Trainline have lost a lot of volume in March. Also the keyword ‘regal’, the name of an app that allows users to buy movie tickets has lost quite some volume.

paint by number, plague inc, animal crossing, multiplayer games, brain test

Now that people have to stay inside users are searching for ‘multiplayer games’ in the app stores. Also the keyword ‘paint by number’ or ‘brain test’ are widely popular.

Animal Crossing has been a very popular game for a while now, but they have recently released a new update for Nintendo Switch. Media is promoting it as the perfect game to escape from during these hard times. As a result, search volume in the App Store spiked.

Search Behaviour in the App Store in Italy

skype, meet, nike training, microsoft teams, tellonym, hangouts

Similarly as in the US, we see that keywords related to working form home have spiked in Italy. But also ‘nike training’ and ‘tellonym’, an app that allows you to send anonymous messages to your friends have hit all time highs in Italy.

Keywords that gained most volume in past two weeks

Keywords that gained most volume in past two weeks in the app store in italy

Home workout’ and the Italian translation ‘ginnastica a casa gratis’ have gained a lot of search volume in Italy. Also ‘coop online’, which is not the name of an app, but refers to the grocery chain Coop has been trending. WindTre is a telecom operator in Italy focussing on pre-paid plans.

The keyword ‘Texas Poker’ has also more than doubled in volume in the past few weeks providing more visibility to Texas Holdem Poker games.

Keywords that lost most volume in past two weeks

Keywords that lost most volume in past two weeks in the app store in italy

As Italy is in total lockdown for a few weeks already, searches for apps related to navigation and transportation have crashed. Also Nugo, an app that allows you to easily organize your transportation when traveling has reached a volume of close to 0.

quiz duello, plague inc, animal crossing, farm hero saga, brain test

Similar as in the US downloads and search volume for Plague Inc, Animal Crossing and Brain Test are trending. Also search volume for Farm Hero Saga and Quiz Duello have maintained very high search volume in the last two weeks.

Search Behaviour in the App Store in France

plato, zoom, skype, houseparty, discord, teams

The number one trending keyword in France, reaching an all time high is ‘plato’. Plato is a fun messaging app that allows you to chat with friends or join public chatrooms. Also ‘Discord’ and ‘Houseparty’ have hit all time highs in France as people are looking for fun ways to connect with friends and communities.

Keywords that gained most volume in past two weeks

Keywords that gained most volume in past two weeks in the app store in france

The keyword that gained the most volume in France is ‘netflix party’. Netflix Party is not an app by itself but is a chrome extension that allows users to watch Netflix together. Interestingly, Netflix is unranked this keyword. Instead, Rave, another app that allows you to watch Netflix with friends ranks number one and is likely profiting from this search in volume.

Supermarket delivery related keywords like ‘auchan livraison’ and ‘carrefour livraison’ have been trending. Also workout related keywords like ‘sport a la maison’ (workout from home) and ‘down dog’ (a yoga app) have gained a lot of search volume.

Maternelle is an app to help kids learn how to read or count.

Keywords that lost most volume in past two weeks

Keywords that lost most volume in past two weeks in the app store in france

Travel related keyword such as ‘trip advisor, ‘rome2rio’, and ‘hotel tonight’ have lost the most volume. As people are not going to other places in Europe anymore keywords like ‘renfe’, Spain’s railway company or ‘treniatlia’, Italy’s railway company have lost tremendous volume.

animal crossing, scrabble, plague inc, the seven deadly sins, habbo

In France also Animal Crossing and Plague Inc are widely popular at the moment. People are also search for ‘scrabble’ which might also be related to the launch of the new Scrabble Go game early March.

Users search also for ‘the seven deadly sins’ an RPG game that was launched on March 3rd and ‘habbo’ a role playing game.


Search behaviour in the app stores is moving fast! It is important to keep a close eye on the current trends so you can update your metadata accordingly.

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