Travel Category Rebounding to Pre-Pandemic Download Levels
During the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, the travel category was one of the most affected categories on the app stores in 2020. With mobility restrictions within and across countries, people all over the world canceled travel plans for the foreseeable future.
Exactly two years after the first lockdown, AppTweak data shows that app downloads in the travel category are finally returning to pre-pandemic levels. Hopper and VRBO come out strong after the pandemic, whereas ride-sharing apps Uber and Lyft are still struggling to reach pre-pandemic highs.
Hopper hits 4.7M downloads in the US
Canadian travel app Hopper has emerged from the pandemic as the top travel booking app in the US, surpassing Booking.com and Expedia. Data from AppTweak’s Market Intelligence shows that Hopper received a total of 4.7M downloads in the US in Q1 2022, 19% more than Booking.com and 52% more than Expedia.
Hopper was hit hard during the first lockdown. Downloads decreased 96% to a low of 2,690 daily downloads on March 26, 2020. Today, however, the app is the leading travel booking app in the US. In Q1 2022, downloads for Hopper were 145% higher than pre-pandemic levels (Q1 2019).
VRBO surpasses Airbnb as the most popular vacation rental app
VRBO, part of the Expedia group, is now the most popular vacation rental app in the US. According to AppTweak analytics, in Q1 2022, the app received a total of 4.7M downloads, 22% more than Airbnb.
Vacation rental apps recovered more quickly than traditional hotel booking apps after the first lockdown. VRBO, in particular, saw impressive growth during the pandemic; downloads in Q1 2022 were 231% higher than the same quarter in 2019. In comparison, downloads for Airbnb only grew 10% over the same period.
Airline travel back to pre-pandemic levels, reaching 6.5M downloads
Airline travel recovered much slower than any other category as a result of the pandemic and travel restrictions. In 2020, app downloads for the top 3 US airlines (United Airlines, Delta, and American Airlines) dropped by 51% compared to 2019.
As worldwide restrictions began to ease, downloads for airline apps surged and reached a high in July 2021. Today, the airline category seems to be back to pre-pandemic download levels. In Q1 2022, the top 3 airline apps received a total of 6.5M downloads, 23% more than Q1 2019.
Uber downloads still 10% lower than before pandemic
Uber and Lyft are recovering more slowly from the turbulent pandemic years. AppTweak’s Market Intelligence data shows that downloads for the ride-hailing apps Uber and Lyft are respectively 10% and 21% lower than before pandemic times (Q1 2022 vs. Q1 2019).
A step towards recovery in the travel app category
The travel category has certainly been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. However, as countries and economies open up and most restrictions are lifted, app downloads in the travel category are soaring again. Nonetheless, the landscape for travel apps has changed. Established apps like Booking.com and Airbnb must now make room for newer apps like Hopper and VRBO. Furthermore, the category’s most downloaded apps, Uber and Lyft, continue to struggle to recover from stay-at-home guidelines.
The data in this report are estimates calculated by AppTweak. You can export download and revenue estimates for any app with AppTweak’s App Store API, now included with your AppTweak ASO subscription (Pro, Guru, Power, and Enterprise Plans).