We've had an unusual start to 2021, to say the least. And some of the issues we've been facing - in our social lives, at work, at home - can be seen in the latest app download trends. It's amazing what you can tell, and what insight you can gain into peoples' lives, just by looking at the apps we're using. The below list is according to Google Play and the SimilarWeb website. It was last updated on 25 January 2021. So let's take a look to see which free mobile Android apps South Africans are downloading right now. Number one might not be what you'd expect...
Top 10 free mobile Android apps in South Africa
10). Fat Pusher
Clearly, we want to be distracted. A relatively new game from VOODOO, Fat Pusher has become extremely popular lately. Though the initial launch was a few months ago, a latest version was released on 5 January. It's a simple enough game where you swipe left/right to guide your character and break boxes containing either coins or food. The goal? To have the fattest pusher ever. It'll keep you entertained on your lunch break, for sure.
9). Facebook Lite
It's no secret that South Africa has pretty high data prices, which means many of us are looking at ways to cut back on data-devouring social media. With Facebook's Facebook Lite you get a similar service - with the familiar timeline, image sharing, groups and profile options - but with capacity to function in 2G conditions. It also takes up less space on your phone. No wonder many of us are making the switch.
8). TikTok Lite
A similar concept to the above free Android app. This is the mobile video app the whole world has fallen in love with, but with faster network connection speeds, less data usage and simpler download features. Users are very happy with the experience and claim it's the best Lite app around. TikTok Lite is smaller, simpler, faster.
It's been around for a while. But it's still one of the most popular apps in South Africa, specifically among the app-crazy younger generation. Very simply, it's an image-sharing platform where you can take a quick snap, then edit it with Filters, Lenses, Bitmojis and effects. And share it with friends and family. Over the years, there have been some bugs but, once fixed, Snapchat is back on top of the list. We're all still obsessed with snapping and sharing.
South Africans are definitely keen to support local. This is SA's local response to Netflix and, apparently, it's becoming more popular every year. We love this video on demand service, especially as it celebrates local content. With new features like Showmax Pro making the platform even more attractive, it's no wonder Showmax is high up on the list. Maybe it'll break into the top 5 in 2021.
5). ZOOM Cloud Meetings
Ah, Zoom. It became our friend during the first few weeks of lockdown and now most people use the app almost every day. Where would 'working from home' be without it? Installed over 500 000 000 times, the numbers speak for themselves with this video-telephone-meeting platform. It's position on the chart suggests people are still WFH and running things remotely.
No surprise here, either. But what makes this mobile video sharing service so popular? Is it because more youngsters are getting smartphones and getting on TikTok? Maybe it's that, as the world becomes more out of control, we want to distract ourselves and have a laugh at the crazy dances, pranks and challenges people are trying out there. No harm in that.
3). WhatsApp Messenger
Always a solid contender and, again, no surprise here. WhatsApp is still one of the most popular ways to communicate in South Africa. And the video and group call functions kept colleagues and family members connected during hard lockdown last year. It seems no matter what else is going on in the country, South Africans still want to chat on WhatsApp.
2). Capitec Bank
Last we heard, Capitec was the second-largest retail bank in South Africa, but things might now be set to be changing. Recently, they've made headlines with their promises to refund thousands of clients as part of their COVID-19 relief schemes, seriously helping to take some of the financial pressure off. Will this bank claim the number one spot this year?