When we launched our inaugural Product Report last year, we captured the extreme growth of digital products fueled by a global pandemic. This year, we are met with another major shift in the market — an impending economic recession. As leaders everywhere shift their business strategies to retain their existing customers and gain new ones, we looked at the companies sustaining truly impressive growth and the industry trends that drive them. The Product Report 2022 reveals that digital product usage is still growing across industries — albeit at a slower rate than last year — rising 16% between August 2021 and August 2022.
At Amplitude, we believe a great product is your best growth engine. And with more than 1,900 customers and over one trillion data points tracked per month, we have a unique understanding of the companies building amazing products and the trends shaping digital activity. But we wanted to go deeper this year to understand what these companies are doing to sustain growth and how leaders are tackling one of the top challenges on everyone’s mind: driving growth in a downturn.
The Next Hottest Products Around the Globe
This year, the Next Hottest Products didn’t indicate just one or two hot markets. In fact, the 30 products on our list came from wide a variety of industries. But they do share one critical common thread: a fine-grained understanding of what makes an incredible customer experience. The importance of investing in your digital product experience cannot be understated — especially in times of economic uncertainty. Many companies are already making these investments, and they have seen tremendous growth as a result. According to data sent to Amplitude, four of the 30 Next Hottest Products saw more than 500% growth in monthly active users (MAUs): social shopping app onthelook, relationship app Paired, AI scheduler Motion, and weight-loss program Found.
In North America, the SaaS and health and wellness industries dominated the list. Following fast-growing Motion and Found was Magic, the go-to solution for companies deploying a web3 strategy, with 280% growth in MAUs. And on Magic’s heels, enter Tonal, the home fitness product, which managed to shape up 176% MAU growth. In Europe, after years of travel restrictions, world travelers are back. Three companies recognized on the list—Tiqets, TravelPerk, and TrustedHousesitters—offer unique and innovative solutions for travel, like museum ticketing apps and housesitter booking. Fintech continues to dominate Asia-Pacific, with nearly half of the companies on the APAC list solving some kind of finance challenge, including OKCoin, Slice, Wagetap, and WeMoney.
Skill up, stand out
Above all industries, HR and staffing products, as well as upskilling and continuing education tools, exhibited the most growth. This trend isn’t exactly surprising. It seemed like everyone in the winter and spring of 2022 was leaving their job for a new opportunity. This may be why in January 2022, digital HR product usage was up 41.9% compared to the August 2021 baseline. That number only continued to climb, hitting 118% in August 2022. But that second surge might be telling another story. As employers in certain sectors battled labor shortages, others were reducing their workforces in response to economic uncertainty. And many job seekers, including some of those who left their jobs in the “Great Resignation,” rushed to find new roles in the summer months as the economy worsened.
SaaS collapse may be overblown
At some point this year, we’ve likely all read about, listened to, or discussed the possibility of a SaaS collapse. Especially when you consider separate Amplitude Labs data that showed SaaS website usage jumped 103% from January 2020 to April 2020, it made us wonder what the SaaS future holds. But our data tells a positive tale. This year’s report shows the sector is still building on last year’s growth. In late summer, the industry landed at 25% growth over the baseline of August 2021.
Crypto tells a more complicated tale
Last year we looked at the fintech industry as a whole—inclusive of the hot and cold crypto market. This year, we decided crypto needed a breakdown of its own. While this sector grew at a faster pace in 2022 than general fintech products, it has seen its ups and downs. Even after a year of unbelievable growth in 2021, in January 2022, crypto growth reached a peak of 78% growth. And then, by August, crypto usage growth dropped to 25.8% over the baseline. Crypto crash? Our data shows it may be too soon to sound that alarm. Although growth has decelerated in 2022, it is still growing positively overall.
Product-led growth is the present and the future
As a data-driven marketer, I love the stories that only data can tell. But that doesn’t mean we ever stop listening to what the experts — the practitioners – are saying. We surveyed nearly 200 product and growth leaders to understand their digital priorities, given the current state of the economy. Unsurprisingly, customer retention is the top area of investment for these leaders, with 58% worried about an increase in customer churn. As today’s economic environment is forcing every company to prioritize lean, sustainable growth, our survey found that businesses are doubling down on product-led growth (PLG). Why? One leader who responded to our survey said it best, “PLG is a fantastic way to acquire users at little to no acquisition cost…but if one gets it right, it helps tremendously to drive value for customers and creates more activation and retention.”
If the past year proved anything, it’s that progress is not always linear. With so much unknown about the future, winning companies are turning to proven strategies to drive growth no matter the economic conditions. Investing in your product experience and leveraging the long-term benefits of a product-led growth model can work hand-in-hand to become your greatest growth lever—just ask the companies on our list. We invite you to read the full report to learn more about these products, gain insight into the power of product-led growth, and benchmark and optimize your own products.