Houseparty, the popular video chat application that Fortnite maker Epic Games acquired in 2019, saw massive growth due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With government locks preventing people from visiting friends and family in person, consumer demand for video chat apps has skyrocketed. This led the app video conferencing category to hit record highs in March, the App Store Intelligence company App Annie recently reported. So far, however, Houseparty had remained calm about its own metrics.
That changed today when Houseparty announced that the app had received 50 million registrations in the past month – a number that is about 70 times the normal value.
According to Apptopia, Houseparty has also seen record mobile downloads in recent weeks, with the number of installations increasing sharply. In the past 30 days, an estimated 17.2 million new installations for iOS and Android have been carried out in Houseparty.
However, the app is also available for Mac and Chrome, which are not included in this illustration.
Increased consumer demand has also led the app to top mobile app store charts in a number of markets, the company said.
Houseparty became the No. 1 social app in 82 countries, including the U.S. App Store. It was also the No. 3 social app on the U.S. Google Play Store.
The app also became the No. 1 overall app in 16 countries. And in the US App Store, it was as high as No. 3 in the overall app. It reached 10th place on Google Play.
The company said users have been using the app for a long time, with average talk time per user being over 60 minutes. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these average times were sometimes over 80 minutes.
Houseparty has typically appealed to younger users than other video chat apps because it is designed for social hangouts. For starters, the app is built into Snapchat. And like Snapchat, it also depends heavily on the gesture-based navigation that older users struggle with. It also offers in-app games like Trivia or Ellen's popular "Heads Up".
Meanwhile, video chat competitors – such as Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangouts – are widely used by remote workers and businesses, in addition to their emerging consumer use cases. This means that the apps are a bit older and distance themselves from the idea of having "fun".
However, given the increasing use of COVID-19, Houseparty claims that people of all ages and with different backgrounds are now joining the app.
In addition, Houseparty users are connected to an average of 23 friends, and almost half of the people on the call play games – a number that the company had not previously announced. (The company recently released all of its games for free to play, which has likely affected usage.)
While the United States has always been the largest market for houseparty, App Annie reported on the growth of houseparty last month and found that demand was particularly strong in Europe. This included countries like Italy and Spain, where installations rose to 423x and 2360x, respectively, in the week of March 21, corresponding to the average weekly number of installations in the fourth quarter of 2019. What is remarkable about the growth is that some countries like Spain were markets in which houseparty had never had a wide penetration before the COVID-19 crisis.
Although Houseparty tends to keep its core metrics secret – such as the total number of users or sales – Houseparty has probably released its new numbers today for various reasons.
For one, Houseparty may just want to divert focus from a strange situation in which it was recently accused of data breach by users' social media posts. Through tweets, users indicated that their houseparty user information was used to access other accounts such as Netflix and Spotify. But Houseparty denied the violation and even suggested that the social media posts were part of a "paid advertising campaign" aimed at harming the business. It offered a $ 1 million reward for all evidence supporting this theory. Nothing has come of it yet, and some of the articles have since disappeared.
In addition, Houseparty's rival, Zoom, has recently been criticized for a number of security and privacy issues for which CEO Eric Yuan has since apologized and promised to be resolved. In the meantime, however, Houseparty can hope to further improve the installation base by targeting those who are now looking for a zoom alternative. (Although Houseparty has its own privacy issues, it hasn't been reported as often.)
Finally, there is the fact that there are not so many times in a company's life that it can describe its oversized growth in such detail. It's unprecedented that 158 million Americans are being asked to stay at home, and millions more worldwide, creating an ideal climate for video chat apps.