Apps and Digital services that thrived During the Pandemic
Since the term COVID-19 entered our lives, it has changed our perspective and lifestyle in various ways. While no one expected the pandemic to hit our lives so hard, many individuals and industries have experienced a downfall. But, on the other hand, we also saw many industries see an opportunity to grow and thrive during these tough times!
Let’s take a look at how these industries boomed and made a mark while we all sat at home waiting for the horror of COVID-19 to end.
1) Payment Solutions
From fine dining restaurants to the chai walla in the corner of every lane, people avoided using cash, UPI was the obvious and safer alternative. Earlier we all were hesitant to use UPI payments for various reasons, but now we all are spoiled with this mode of payment.
- Google pay - Formerly known as Google Wallet which was launched in 2011, they launched their UPI pilot in 2016 & Google Pay became a household name during the pandemic, they’ve acquired a good portion of the market. Their revenue was INR 1467 crore in 2021. The number of users Gpay has is very overwhelming.
- Phone pay - It is very similar to Gpay, but the number of features in this app are amazing. They launched Phone pay in 2015, but it got popular during covid & holds the highest market share in terms of active users among all the UPI players. Their revenue was around INR 690 crore in 2021.
- Paytm - In 2010 it launched in India, and in 2017 it started its UPI transactions. Paytm was the first app to give an online recharge system & many more offers with their famous Paytm Cashback! Their revenue in 2022 was INR 4,947 crore.
2) Food Delivery Apps -
Have you ever thought that you can order your meal by just sitting at home? Around 125 years ago, the Mumbai Dabbawala system started in Mumbai, India, and that is still going on.
But nowadays you have apps by which you can order food from your favorite restaurant. This was very helpful when we were supposed to follow the covid restrictions. Food delivery apps during this time took all the safety measures & did their job. The restaurant and delivery guy used proper sanitization and this increased people’s trust in them.
- Zomato - Zomato is one of India’s leading startups that has gained immense traction during covid, so much so, they even launched an IPO and are now traded on the Stock Exchange. When restaurants were closed during covid, zomato being a food delivery business also had to face the consequences. But food delivery was one of the first few to get relaxations, they used several marketing strategies to attract the users like giving massive discounts and free deliveries on your first order, and some daily offers for attracting users. Having so many options on the app, one can not only order fast food but a healthy meals, snacks and much more. The app and its service are active in 42,000 cities around India and Zomato has gone global and is offering services in 23 other countries. Their revenue in 2020 increased by 105%. They launched this startup in 2008 had a revenue of INR 4,109 crore in 2022.
- Swiggy - Started in Bangalore, in 2014 this Indian startup acquired a place in the top 3 food-delivery apps. Swiggy doesn’t charge much for deliveries, and also has free delivery at some restaurants. They don’t have a minimum order policy. Not stopping at food delivery they’ve also launched “Swiggy Instamart” to deliver groceries. Started as “Swiggy Genie” which was very different concept where one can pick up or send items may it be groceries, laundry, documents, or even home-cooked food to their friends and family. These features helped them gain popularity. This platform helped many small businesses and helped Swiggy to gain users. Their estimated revenue was INR 2,675 crores in 2021.
3) Grocery Apps -
Grocery stores are linking themselves to online shopping sites with the advent of technology. Customers don’t have to be in long queues and spend 2-3 hours in grocery shopping. Where now it just takes 15-20 minutes to place the order; you receive the order within a few hours or 1-2 days based on the platform. People are getting used to this habit of ordering groceries from such apps because it does not consume time & is convenient for users.
- Big basket - It is defined as the largest digital super-market in India. It delivers your grocery/household products within 2-3 hours. It gives you free delivery on orders above 1000. Founded in 2011, this startup provides services in Metropolitan cities in India. The consumer rate increased by 84% after covid. People got so used to these apps that some have seen to be ordering things as simple as a cola can or a bag of chips through these apps. The company claims that they are recording 2 million orders a month. Their revenue is reported to be around 66 billion Indian rupees as of 2021.
- Dunzo - It is an incredible app that promises to deliver your grocery products in just 45 minutes. Their revenue has doubled after covid. Bengaluru, Chennai & Mumbai was the biggest market for Dunzo in 2020, and now it is expanding to more cities. Currently, it is active in 8 cities. Launched in 2014 this startup recorded a revenue of 458 million Indian rupees in 2021.
4) Virtual meet solutions -
We also happened to find a solution for our office meetings, lectures, and classes when we were in lockdown. Earlier these apps were only in use when we used to call our relatives or friends who live abroad. Let’s see why & how they got popular.
- Google Meet - It got popular in 2020. Earlier it was only used for a few business meetings, but in 2020 it was used by students to attend lectures, seminars & much more. Talking about features, 250 people can join one meet, and record the meet, for free. Google launched this in 2017 but it was during it became a savior. The daily usage of this app has increased by 30 times since the lockdown.
- Zoom - This video communication app launched in 2011, and became profitable in 2019. Initially, they recorded 3 million meeting participants daily & in 2020 it increased to 200 million daily participants. This app is still in use & is beneficial for conducting meetings even if the participants are from another city, state or anywhere around the world. Just in one day in March 2022, Zoom got downloaded 2.13 million times all over the world. Their revenue for 2022 is $ 1.099 billion.
5) OTT Platforms -
During covid all the theatres were closed, and the filmmakers started uploading content on OTT platforms. During this period TVs started turning into smart TVs, for watching Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Youtube. OTT platform has all age group content, the reason it became more famous.There are about 350 million users from India who watche OTT content.
- Netflix - It launched in 1997, but it came to India in 2016. Netflix has 5.5 million subscribers in India. It has owned the market by providing ultimate content to its users, in different genres. When there was no entertainment in people’s lives, people turned to Netflix and it increased the craze web series and original content of the users. Netflix has 208 million users as of 2021. This video-streaming company earned revenue of 15 billion Indian rupees in 2021.
- Amazon Prime - Not only an e-commerce website/app but also a video streaming app with a huge user base. As the same on Netflix, has various categories & genres, one can choose whatever he feels like. Amazon Prime offers a 30 day free trial, and if you wish to continue you can choose a plan which suits you. This strategy was to give users a prime experience and ultimately grow the user base.In covid, some movies and series started releasing on Amazon or Netflix only. That’s why to watch a particular movie people have to take a subscription. It also helped in increasing the number of users. Launched in 2006, the company’s revenue was 21,633 crore in 2021.
- Disney+ Hotstar - This India-based company launched in 2015 as “Hotstar”. It became “Disney+Hotstar” with their acquisition with Disney. It has 50.1 million users. You can watch some of the content by logging into the app for free. They also have the original Hotstar content they upload on their app. It hits 73.7 million subscribers during a lockdown. Their revenue was 16.7 billion Indian rupees in 2021.
6) Astrology Apps-
When during the pandemic people wanted to visit an astrologer to ask questions about life, their career/job, future, then these lifestyle apps helped them to get a certain service with worldwide astrologers, tarot card readers, Reiki-healers. One has never imagined these services would be available on an app, where you can chat, and talk to an astrologer.
- Astrotalk - This is an online astrology app that provides services like Vedic Astrology, tarot card reading, Vastu Shastra, numerology, Reiki healing, Palmistry, and many more subjects. It is a very creative idea to give online astrology consultations. You can talk to astrologers from all over the world.
The company started in 2017 & generating revenue of over INR 77 lakhs per day. Covid didn't affect the company but had a positive impact, as it is an online app & easy to use.
- Astroyogi - The first astrological app, Astroyogi, was introduced in 2001 as a content generator for major collaborations with Yahoo, AOL, and MSN. Later, it moved into the value-added sector and collaborated with telecoms as India's largest provider of content creation and curation services.
Their motive is to provide authentic services to the young generation. They have 20 years of experience in Meditation, Yoga, Reiki Healing & Vedic practices. After the pandemic, everyone is more cautious about their mental health, so why not get spiritual solutions from someone professional?
They have 2M customers across 85 countries. They have 11 languages with 2,000 professionals on their app. The recorded revenue of Astroyogi is 4M in 2021.
7) Fitness Apps
During the lockdown, the downloads of health & fitness apps grew by 46% worldwide. As gyms forcefully got closed during the lockdown, people started focusing on them as they were locked at home and shifted to digital gyms. These apps were beneficial in suggesting your workout routine and setting targets for a month. In India, the downloads increased by 156%.
- Cult. fit - Cult. Fit has online & offline gyms too with healthy diet suggestions, mental health sessions, and medical consultants you can talk to. It’s everything that you’ll get in one place. For fun & easy workouts, they launched this company in 2016. Cult.fit expanded the business in 2021, through 4 new acquisitions. Their revenue in 2021, records 1 crore.
- Fitbit coach - Plan workouts based on various exercises, such as walking, jogging, and weightlifting, using the Fitbit Coach workout app. One of the greatest fitness applications for Android and iOS, it allows you to work out anywhere you like. It gives you your calorie count and steps count. They launched their app in 2018 and revenue counts at 1.31 billion in 2021.
8) Buy now pay later
These apps allow you to pay for your things immediately without spending any money and generate a bill later, either weekly, bi-monthly or monthly. By acting as a more straightforward form of a credit medium. BNPL applications have significantly simplified the transaction process. All you need to do is link your BNPL app with the online retailer from which you are purchasing your food, clothing, or anything else.
It eased the users spending pressure. These apps helped users to purchase anything they want without looking at the prices.
- Simpl- You can purchase anything without affecting your bank account that much. As you don’t have to worry about paying on the spot, the app allows you to pay later. Not only that, but it manages all your expenses.
Merchants like Zomato, Swiggy, Flipkart, and Dunzo are on simpl. This app is very easy to use for both users & merchants. Launched in 2015, app has 7M users & 23,000+ Merchants. Revenue of 7M comes from the commission they get from merchants.
- Amazon Pay Later - Amazon India has recorded 10 million transactions with active 2 million consumers. Not only have clothing, grocery, or food-related items but you can do bigger purchases like Home appliances, furniture, TV anything. It is not restricted only to products you buy on Amazon, but wherever you see the Amazon pay later option, you can use it.
- LazyPay - When shopping online, you just have to choose Lazypay at the time of checkout. You get 4 interest-free installments to pay back your money. You can also choose, whether you are going to pay monthly or bi-weekly.
As per the record, the company disbursed more than INR100 worth of credit every month, The company started in 2017 and had 2 million monthly transactions. The company has seen an immense response during covid. It claims that during covid they have recorded 75,000 users per month. INR 21 crore was their revenue for 2021.
These businesses didn’t give up during the lockdown; Instead of waiting for the covid situation to end, they grabbed this opportunity for marketing their product & services. As everything was online, they got a larger audience to interact with. Entrepreneurs & business owners should always try to think about what unique products or services they can give to their customers.