The shift to remote and hybrid working (opens in new tab) has placed greater importance on the tools that help people work in a more flexible manner, across multiple devices.
Although a handful of services (e.g. Zoom (opens in new tab) and Microsoft Teams (opens in new tab)) have attracted much of the limelight during the pandemic, data shared exclusively with TechRadar Pro by analytics firm App Annie suggests there are also a few unsung heroes.
For example, lesser-known office software (opens in new tab) WPS Office has consistently ranked among the top five business mobile apps for monthly active users (MAU), bested only by the video conferencing (opens in new tab) giants and services such as LinkedIn.
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Developed by Chinese company Kingsoft, WPS Office acts as a free alternative to Microsoft Office (opens in new tab), divided into three components that provide similar functionality to Word (opens in new tab), PowerPoint (opens in new tab) and Excel (opens in new tab).
Although Microsoft’s products are ubiquitous in the business world, the official Office app is absent from the top ten rankings entirely, for both monthly downloads and MAU.
Separately, the meteoric growth of Indian ecommerce (opens in new tab) app Meesho will also come as a surprise to many, especially in the west. Since the start of the pandemic, Meesho has grown to become the fifth most downloaded business app on mobile.
Most popular business apps
Predictably, the business app rankings are dominated by the collaboration and video conferencing services that have helped people stay connected to colleagues, friends and family during the pandemic.
According to App Annie data, the top three most downloaded apps across iOS and Android in April last year were Zoom (opens in new tab), Google Meet (opens in new tab) and Microsoft Teams (opens in new tab).
In recent months, however, WhatsApp for Business has muscled its way into the top three, as the vaccine rollouts gather pace and businesses begin to reopen in some regions. The app allows small businesses to create profiles to house information such as address, description and contact details, but also to chat directly with customers in much the same way WhatsApp might be used to message friends and family.
Although popular before the pandemic, WhatsApp for Business has gained a newfound importance for SMBs, who are now tasked with refiring the engines and reconnecting with customers after an extended period of absence.
Meanwhile, shifts further down the ranking table hint at changes in the recruitment landscape. While networking platform LinkedIn has remained the third most used business application throughout the pandemic, the app jumped from 10th to 9th position in the download rankings between March and April this year.
Although precise figures are unavailable, the shift could hint that a greater number of workers are looking for new opportunities now there is a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel.
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