Houseparty, Discord, Zoom, and Marco Polo downloads explode amid coronavirus pandemic

Coronavirus quarantines have sent downloads soaring for social video apps as millions of people search for ways to connect socially and professionally.

As has been widely noted, Zoom’s video conference service has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the new isolation regimes. Even amid a historic stock market sell-off, Zoom’s stock has risen from $68.72 per share at the start of this year to $145.67 per share this afternoon.

According to research firm Apptopia, worldwide daily downloads of Zoom’s mobile app across all app stores have climbed from 171,574 on February 15 to 2,410,171 on March 25.

While Zoom is leading the pack, several other social video apps are experiencing their own surge.

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Most notably, Houseparty has seen its daily downloads rise from 24,795 per day on February 15 to 651,694 on March 25. In France alone, where I live, that number has jumped from 2,162 to 38,739 during that time.

Epic Games, makers of Fortnite, acquired Houseparty last summer. The service lets up to 8 people chat simultaneously, while also offering games and other interactive features.

Discord, the social network for gamers, has also seen a nice uptick, though less dramatic than Zoom and Houseparty. The app’s downloads merely doubled from 219,585 on February 15 to 443,480 on March 25.

That may be in part because it’s more established. Still, my youngest child’s school is using Discord to connect teachers and students during the mandatory confinement in France, introducing a new audience.

Finally, the lesser known Marco Polo app has seen some solid traction. From just 12,674 downloads on February 15, it has grown to 73,395 downloads on March 25.

Husband and wife team Vlada and Michal Bortnik launched Marco Polo in 2016 from Palo Alto, in part motivated to find better ways to remain in contact with Polish relatives. This app’s twist is that it has an asynchronous option. People can live-chat, but they can also drop video messages for other people to be watched later. They have also targeted a family-friendly market, with one newspaper billing the app as “Snapchat for old people.”

With the global pandemic still on the upswing, these and other video apps that offer ways to connect and collaborate will likely continue to soar in popularity. That includes Microsoft Teams, which passed 44 million active users recently thanks in part to the coronavirus.

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