Fishing app users surge in latest lockdown leisure trend
INTERNATIONAL - From cycling to long-distance running, solitary sports are on a roll during the coronavirus pandemic. Next up: fishing.
Fishbrain, an app that connects anglers and provides data on fishing spots, catches and conditions, saw its user base surge by 23% in April from a year earlier to more than 10 million after most U.S. states went into lockdown.
“In some states, fishing has boomed, for example in Minnesota, where sales of fishing licenses have increased by 50%,” said Chief Executive Officer Johan Attby. Catches logged on the app and overall engagement activity also jumped, he said.
The unlisted, Sweden-based company launched an in-app marketplace for buying tackle and other equipment late last year to make money from the 90% of Fishbrain users who use the free version. The system crunches data on catches and equipment used by each angler to recommend the right gear.
After an “incredibly difficult” process setting up the marketplace and getting brands on board, there’s been a jump in spending since the lockdowns began, Attby said. Purchases of lures, bait and other equipment almost doubled in March, then tripled in April, he said, as physical stores closed and manufacturers looked for new sales channels.
Great Butterfly Peacock Bass caught by Fishbrain user pojgofishing in Singapore! pic.twitter.com/EFnvcRpFnJ— Fishbrain (@fishbrainapp) February 12, 2020
Most of the app’s users are in the U.S., where subscriber growth might have been even higher without stay-at-home orders in states such as California and Massachusetts, and the surge in joblessness.
“I believe that growth would be even stronger if it weren’t for the rise in unemployment, so we can’t say that we are unaffected,” Attby said.
U.K. wireless carrier EE reported last month that data consumption on the Strava fitness app tripled during the lockdown, and usage of MapMyRun has doubled.