With the first Valentine's Day during COVID-19 in the books, we analyzed how Americans used mobile applications this year to celebrate their relationships. In this report, we reveal the top behavioral shifts on Valentine’s Day by analyzing the app categories that saw the largest growth in usage.
Flurry Analytics, owned by Verizon Media, is used in over 1 million mobile applications, providing aggregated insights across more than 2 billion mobile devices per month. For this analysis, Flurry measured mobile app usage in the United States using the number of app sessions. We set January 31, the most recent Sunday prior to Valentine’s Day, excluding the Super Bowl, as the baseline and then compared growth against that baseline for each category. Note that we excluded the Social category from our analysis, including dating apps, because of the unusual concentration of usage in just a handful of properties, which Flurry does not measure.
Let’s find out which app categories gained the most usage during Valentine’s Day.
In the chart above, we show a side-by-side comparison of indexed mobile app sessions on Valentine’s Day in blue versus on a typical Sunday in black, for the four app categories that experienced the most growth on Valentine's Day.
The top spot goes to the Photo & Video app category, which grew by 73% on Valentine’s Day compared to a typical Sunday. We speculate that this surge is coming from many photo and video editor apps offering special frames, filters and stickers for Valentine’s Day. Additionally, photo and video apps were likely used more than usual to capture special moments and memories. This 73% jump is impressive for the Photo & Video category, which typically experiences lesser growth during other holiday periods. For instance, this category only increased by 42% last year during Valentine’s Day, and grew by 51% on New Year’s Eve compared to a typical Thursday in December. Growth may have been stronger this year on Valentine’s Day due to social distancing, leaving more quiet time for couples.
The Restaurant app category saw the second largest growth in usage, with a 35% increase. With the reopening of restaurants in the majority of U.S. states, growth in Restaurant app usage outpaced that of Take-out, up by 11%, and Recipe, down by 3%. This means that more people used their phone on Valentine’s Day to find nearby dining locations than to order food or cook a meal at home. It also indicates that on Valentine’s Day, the Restaurant category rebounded from its 36% drop earlier in the pandemic, when most restaurants were still closed.
Lastly, the Music app category experienced a 9% rise in usage on Valentine’s Day, indicating that people played more music than usual on their phone to celebrate and make this day special.
Valentine’s Day this year drove a significant spike in Photo & Video app activity. Restaurant, Take-out, and Music also saw a substantial growth in usage. This unusual uptake in mobile activity, likely amplified by the pandemic, reflects how special this celebration is for many Americans. Stay tuned for more reports covering shifts in mobile app behavior during upcoming holiday events. For the latest reports, subscribe to the Flurry Analytics blog and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.