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News apps see explosive growth in 2020: Marked rise in news consumption signals new trend during the global pandemic

In the first half of 2020, consumers have relied on news organizations more than ever to keep them informed about the rapidly evolving situation around COVID-19. New data from app marketing platform Adjust shows consumers are increasingly turning to their phones to consume news, suggesting that their favourite media apps may get a long-term boost in attention.

The data shows that daily installs of News apps grew by 37% between January and April 2020. Installs peaked in March, before returning to near pre-COVID levels in May. Daily sessions also saw a huge rise, increasing 59% between January and April. 

While sessions peaked in April, they decreased by just 13% the following month — and sessions are still trending far higher than in 2019, or at the start of 2020. This signals a shift in how users consume media, with more people turning to the convenience of News apps compared to traditional channels.

Consumers have relied more heavily on news organizations during this period of uncertainty, highlighting the media’s essential role in keeping populations informed as the global pandemic has unfolded,” said Paul H. Müller, co-founder and CTO of Adjust. “Our data suggests mobile apps have become a major channel for this increase in news consumption, which could change the way people interact with news organizations more broadly over the long-term.” 

The data also sheds light on regional trends, as countries around the world grappled with lockdown measures and ever-changing regulations: 

  • The United States saw one of the most dramatic spikes in use: daily installs increased 53%, while daily sessions soared 104% between January and April. But daily sessions only saw an 8% decrease between April and May, suggesting many users have stayed the course.  
  • In EMEA, daily sessions grew by 69% from January to April 2020 — peaking in March, in line with when lockdown measures came into place across much of the region. Germany and France, in particular, saw huge spikes in daily sessions, increasing by 75% and 71% respectively. 
  • In Asia, Japan’s rates followed a similar pattern to the rest of the world, with installs and sessions increasing 23% and 44%, respectively, between January and April, and sessions decreasing 11% between April and May.