How COVID-19 influenced taxi apps

The world pandemic has hit the Travel category in app stores gigantically. We decided to look into the performance of ride-hailing and ride-sharing apps and outline the main changes.

Overall app sessions dropped down

The number of iOS app sessions of Onde clients decreased by 70% on average. In March and April, users were opening their ride-hailing apps 70% less than in February. However, this is an average calculation. The data is very different for every specific country — while some apps are used 50% less, the usage of others is decreased by more than 90%.

Users do not delete taxi apps

The overall number of taxi rides around the world has shrunk as a result of local COVID-19 prevention guidelines. People became less mobile. But most users are still hopeful to work with their favorite ride-hailing apps in the future — and they don’t delete these apps.

We analyzed the deletion rates of Onde customers and found out it grew only by 12% on average. People still have apps on smartphones — they just use them much less.

Customers are not lost, they are taking a break

Now, this is important: the number of active users (people who've opened the app in the last 30 days at least once) did not change much. On average, the number of active Android users decreased by 3%, and that of iOS by 6%. The apps are still on the smartphones, once the quarantine is over, people will get back to them.

Ok, but why are apps losing rankings in Google Play and App Store?

Android rankings of Onde partners lost position by about 90%. For example, when an app was #5 in Google Play in February, it became #9 in March and April. The iOS apps rankings decreased by 30%. Again, keep in mind that this is a calculation of the average performance.

The download velocity is the main reason for this decrease. Stores rank apps very much relying on their ability for user acquisition. If people install the app less than before, for the algorithms it means the app became less interesting.

Need an example? Look at what happened to Booking.com after prevention measures were taken in different countries.

Booking.com app lost all positions

Booking.com app lost all positions all over the world

So ride-hailing and ride-sharing companies are losing orders (which is sad), but not the loyal users (which is good). People still need to get about. Even though less frequently than before, they use taxi apps for the rare occasions when it’s needed.

Can I use these dynamics to keep my taxi business afloat?

Here are some tips to maximize your profits from the dramatic situation.

  • Use push notifications. Your apps are still on the customers’ devices. Tell users about any new service types you launch.
  • Make a marketing campaign for the end of quarantine ready.
  • Strategize your future app store optimization. After the lockdown, there still will be users looking for ride-hailing apps. How will you attract them to your app?

Remember — your competitors are in the same boat. So it’s time to be creative.

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