In a way, the Top Chart section of an app store in a certain country can tell you something about the state of people of that country or region.
The top trending app is a social media platform? The people of that nation are probably highly social. Ebook reader? They likely value reading and gaining information.
But if the top trending apps on your Google Play/Apple store right now are USD to LBP currency exchange apps, then you must be living in Lebanon.
Applications such as Adde Dollar, USD to Lebanese Pound, and LBP to USD Now have recently invaded the top lists of app stores in the country, even surpassing the likes of Snapchat and Whatsapp Business, which would normally be dominant on these lists.
If a foreigner were to take a look at the apps that are being the most downloaded on Lebanese smartphones today, they’d probably think that the people of this country are obsessed with the foreign exchange market.
And that assumption would not be very far from reality. The Lebanese people, today, are indeed very obsessed with the market of one specific currency that has wrought havoc in their country over the course of a few months.
Living in Lebanon today, it is not uncommon to hear the question “How much is the dollar worth today?” more than a dozen times a day by people of varying ages.
Even Lebanese children have grown accustomed to asking this question when buying video games, for example, or other items that usually bear dollar price tags.
Going back to the foreigner scenario, imagine their inner reaction to hearing a child ask such a question to a store clerk…
Such, unfortunately, is the reality of Lebanon today. The accelerating fall of the Lebanese pound has had a profound effect on the daily life of the Lebanese individual – even on the level of his/her smartphone applications.
Today, the Lebanese watch the numbers on these currency exchange applications rise and drop, not in the hope of making large sums of profit or fear of losing them.
But they do so in a desperate attempt to feel they have some sort of control over their difficult lives on one hand, and a sense of predictability in their rapidly disintegrating nation on the other.