While the United States Food and Drug Administration approved the use of at-home COVID-19 tests in December 2020, consumer adoption only began to show a steep increase last month. Sensor Tower Store Intelligence data reveals that installs for the apps associated with the two most widely available over-the-counter testing kits with mobile apps, BinaxNOW and Ellume, collectively surged 107 percent month-over-month in July and 134 percent so far in August across U.S. app stores.
BinaxNOW and Ellume COVID Test Apps Reach 770,000 Combined Installs
Although home testing kits for COVID-19 exist aside from BinaxNOW and Ellume, other iterations require users to ship samples to labs before receiving results. With BinaxNOW and Ellume, consumers can check their results using the Navica and Ellume apps, respectively.
Navica’s installs exceeded Ellume’s until last month, when the latter saw a sharp uptick in adoption. U.S. downloads of the Ellume app reached 59,000 in July, up 354 percent from 13,000 in June, whereas Navica’s app grew 31 percent to 55,000 from 42,000. Both apps have collectively hit approximately 770,000 installs since their launches.
Pixel by Labcorp is another at-home test kit that is widely available; however, the associated Labcorp app is used to access a variety of lab results so it was omitted from this analysis.
Vaccine Verification Apps Surpass 1.5 Million Downloads in August
Adoption of vaccine verification apps has risen so far in August, reflecting new requirements by various establishments and governments in the U.S. for consumers to show proof of their vaccination status. Installs of the top eight verification apps in the U.S. for August have climbed to 1.6 million, up 79 percent from approximately 867,000 in July.
The growth of these apps has been driven mostly by NYC COVID Safe and NYS Excelsior Pass Wallet, likely due to newer policies such as New York City’s proof of vaccine requirement for indoor venues.
NYS Excelsior Pass Wallet saw the most installs in a single month, climbing 283 percent M/M to 579,000 so far in August, from 151,000 in July. This exceeded its previous record month of May 2021, when the app hit about 480,000 installs. NYC COVID Safe launched at the end of July and has so far accrued approximately 109,000 downloads. Immunization record app Docket has also experienced significant M/M growth, rising 182 percent to 189,000 installs to date this month from 67,000 in July.
Although VeriFLY saw a surge in adoption in July, climbing 22 percent M/M, first-time installs for the app have declined so far in August. This could point to a dip in air travel due to the delta variant, as VeriFLY has a partnership with American Airlines. However, Clear, which also has a partnership with airlines United and Delta, continued experiencing M/M growth, climbing 73 percent in July and 15 percent so far in August. This may be due to the app’s other use cases beyond air travel.
Mobile Apps Grapple with COVID Complexities
As local governments and businesses work out the best way to remain open safely and consumers search for home testing solutions, the mobile apps that have emerged to tackle these issues have seen mixed results. Of the eight vaccine verification apps, only Docket, Clear, and Healthy Together have majority positive reviews on the U.S. App Store, whereas the other apps have been subject to a litany of user criticisms.
Consumers have similarly expressed their frustrations in the reviews for the COVID home testing apps, citing issues such as false positives and error messages and signaling that the user experience still requires further refinement. However, with booster shots on the horizon and continued social distancing measures indicating that the pandemic is still a present concern in consumers’ daily lives, developers will undoubtedly continue to improve and innovate on these apps.
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