Main trends

The mobile applications with the most users in El Salvador are Facebook (92 percent), WhatsApp (90 percent), YouTube (77 percent) and Instagram (60 percent). Facebook is the most used social media network. WhatsApp is the leader in instant messaging. YouTube prevails in social media video and Twitter is the most used microblogging social network, although it has decreased it use comparing 2015 (59 percent) to 2018 (47 percent).

In 2017, the most downloaded game applications were Subway Surfers and Pokemon Go; In the entertainment category, Netflix and Zedge Ringtones are leaders; Tinder and OkCupid are the favorite apps for dating. For travel, Uber and Google Maps are the most used apps; AliExpress and Amazon are the apps that Salvadorans use for shopping; when Salvadorans want to listen to music using apps, they prefer Spotify and Sing! Karaoke; finally, in the Food and Drink category, Subway and Vivino Wine Scanner are among the trending apps.

According to Analitika Market Research, up to 63 percent of app users spend more than two hours daily using them, while 96 percent of users access apps by mobile phone; on average a person subscribes to 5.3 social network apps and online shopping is becoming more prevalent to acquire goods and services.

Most apps used by Salvadorians are developed in other countries, mainly in the USA. However there are some native apps that have gained some traction between Salvadoran users. For example, Alertux is an app with two main features: Users can report and see alerts about crimes, natural disasters, public and public order in real time through a map; users can also receive notifications about different events that can affect traffic (weather, natural disasters, etc). It has expanded to other cities in other countries and currently it is active in San Salvador, Bogotá and Medellín (Colombia), Caracas (Venezuela), México D. F. and Monterrey (Mexico) and Buenos Aires (Argentina). To date they have generated more than 1m notifications and there are more than 423,000 users.

Also, El Salvador City Experience is an app financed by the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism which allows tourists to check recommended places to eat, shop and visit.

Regarding mobile money, El Salvador had a remarkable growth of users going from 13 percent in 2011 to 51 percent of the population in 2014. This is explained in part because remittances to El Salvador from many countries, and specially the USA, are a very important part of the economy (18 percent of GDP). For example, Salvadoran families received around US$5bn in remittances during 2017, a 9.7 percent increase from 2016 or an increase of US$445m, according the Central Reserve Bank (BCR in Spanish).