Just as consumer interest in delivery services soared during the COVID-19 pandemic, so has the adoption of corresponding gig work apps as Americans seized the opportunity for other sources of income. Sensor Tower Store Intelligence data reveals that this trend continued into Q1 2021, when installs of the top three gig work apps in the United States climbed 25 percent year-over-year to 4.5 million.
In the first quarter of 2019 to 2021, the top U.S. gig work apps by downloads have focused on driving and delivery, led by Uber Driver, Lyft Driver, Instacart Shopper, and DoorDash Driver. Combined installs of the top three apps each quarter grew 20 percent Y/Y in 1Q20, climbing from 3 million to 3.6 million. Adoption surged further in 1Q21 as combined installs of these grew 25 percent Y/Y.
Gig Workers Flock to DoorDash
DoorDash Driver had its best-ever month of installs in March 2021, reaching 812,000 from across the U.S. app stores. This was up 88 percent year-over-year from 431,000 in March 2020, and the first quarter on the whole experienced even more growth.
The app saw approximately 2.2 million installs in the first quarter of 2021, up 120 percent from the same period in 2020. DoorDash’s consumer-facing app saw explosive growth during the onset of the pandemic, and users looking for part-time work have noticed the increase in demand. Although consumer habits may shift as restaurants and bars reopen, DoorDash has been expanding its offerings, forging new partnerships with grocery stores and pharmacies.
Delivery services weren’t the only apps that saw a surge in adoption from users looking for gig work. The freelancer platform Fiverr saw its best-ever monthly installs in March 2021 when it reached 215,000 downloads from U.S. app stores, up 57 percent Y/Y from 137,000 in March 2020. Furthermore, its U.S. monthly active users climbed 40 percent when comparing the two month long periods.
This growth may indicate that some consumers have begun freelancing as the pandemic led to layoffs and business closures.
Delivery App Growth in the United Kingdom Outpaces the U.S.
Adoption of the top three gig work apps in the United Kingdom grew at an even greater rate than in the U.S. last quarter. A cohort of apps including Uber Driver, Fiverr, and Deliveroo Rider saw their installs reach 358,000 in Q1, up 47 percent Y/Y. This was nearly double the growth seen in Q1 2020, when the top three apps climbed 24 percent Y/Y to 244,000 from 197,000 installs during the same period in 2019.
Earlier this year, the U.K. Supreme Court ruled that Uber must classify its drivers as workers, and the company announced in March that it would pay drivers minimum wage and include paid vacations and pensions, potentially attracting more users to its platform.
It’s also possible that the users of these gig work apps are responding to continued demand for delivery and freelance services. The COVID-19 pandemic altered consumer habits across the world, and as certain in-person spaces have started to reopen, it’s unclear which of those will persist into the future.
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