New Delhi: The Covid-19 lockdown has seen a sharp surge in downloads of the Zoom app, which appears to have emerged as the go-to portal for video meetings as an unprecedented number of employees work from home.
The app is currently among India’s top three most downloaded amid the pandemic-enforced lockdown, according to data from US-based app analytics provider Sensor Tower. The first two are TikTok and WhatsApp.
In the 10 days between 1 March and 11 March, when work-from-home arrangements to check Covid-19 were just beginning to kick in, there were 1.25 lakh Zoom downloads in India, Sensor Tower data states.
On 11 March, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Covid-19 a pandemic and calls for social distancing strengthened. From this day until 15 March, a period of four days, there were 1.8 lakh Zoom downloads in India.
The number of downloads skyrocketed after 15 March, as more people and organisations opted for work from home to curb the spread of the virus. Social-distancing norms have since assumed the force of the law, with the Modi government, on 24 March, announcing a 21-day complete nationwide lockdown.
Between 15 March and 5 April, Zoom was downloaded 1.26 crore times in India.
Zoom Video Communications was founded in 2011 by Chinese immigrant Eric S. Yuan. It is headquartered in California.
Yuan, a billionaire since April 2019 when the company stock went public, is originally from China’s Shandong province, and studied at the Shandong University of Science and Technology. He even had a start-up in Beijing before moving to the US.
Zoom’s free-to-use, reliable service has made it popular among people looking for video-conferencing services. Its premium offering for large companies is said to be cheaper than that of rivals, and users have praised Zoom as being easier to use.
Its use in India has not been restricted to office meetings. Even schools and colleges have adopted the app to hold virtual classes amid uncertainty about the duration of the lockdown.
In the spurt of post-lockdown downloads, Zoom has far surpassed wildly popular apps whose fame predates that of the video-conferencing portal.
PUBG, the popular gaming app, was downloaded 83 lakh times between 11 March and 5 April, while the number is 1.28 crore for Zoom. The world’s biggest social media app, Facebook, saw fewer downloads in this period too, at 1.23 crore.
Between 1 March and 11 March, India’s top 5 downloaded apps were WhatsApp (chat app), TikTok (video-sharing platform), SHAREit (file-transfer app), Helo (social media app by TikTok’s parent company ByteDance), and Facebook.
The list is quite different for the period between 11 March and 5 April: TikTok, WhatsApp, Zoom, Ludo King (gaming app), and Facebook.
Between 11 March and 5 April, TikTok was downloaded 2.88 crore times, WhatsApp 1.58 crore times, and Ludo King 1.26 crore times.
However, while its downloads have registered a meteoric rise amid the lockdown, Zoom, overall, has fewer users than the offerings of other tech giants.
While India-specific figures were unavailable, Zoom claims to have 20 crore daily users worldwide as of 1 April 2020, up from 1 crore in December 2019. Facebook, meanwhile, was estimated to have 26 crore in India alone as of January 2020.
PUBG reportedly had 5 crore registered gamers in India by April 2019, while the WhatsApp user base stood at 40 crore in July last year. TikTok, according to a February 2020 report, had around 20 crore active users in India.