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Brief Published: 5 May 2020

New Survey Reveals Lockdown Digital Usage Trends

57% of global respondents aged 16-64 agree that they’ve consumed more film and TV during social distancing

A new report from UK-based marketing agency We Are Social unpacks the digital trends emerging in 2020, with a key focus on changes in interface usage since lockdown began across the globe. We explore the developments in internet access and adoption before and during the outbreak, and examine the trends we expect to continue post-pandemic.

  • The Digital Industry Overview: Global internet usage shows continual growth; 4.57 billion people now use the internet, up 7% since the same time last year. The number of social media users is increasing even faster, with an 8% rise since April 2019 to reach 3.81 billion current active users globally.
    This is equal to 49% of the world’s population using social media, which is expected to pass 50% by the end of 2020. And the number of mobile phone users has multiplied, with 5.15 billion unique users as of April 2020, accounting for almost two-thirds of the world’s population.
    This year is sure to see even greater growth in internet and social media use due to the restrictions on physical interactions. Now is the time for brands to build meaningful virtual connections with their consumers.
  • Lockdown Learnings: Unsurprisingly, there’s been a shift in online media usage as consumers pivot to online entertainment alternatives. 
    Film and TV streaming has seen the biggest rise, with 57% of global respondents aged 16-64 agreeing that they’ve consumed more during social distancing. Producers are rethinking ways to create new content to match the rise in demand. Filming is about to commence on a remake of the BBC’s Talking Heads series; actors will film monologues in a closed set, adhering to social-distancing rules.
    Gaming has seen a considerable boost, with 35% of people saying they’re indulging in more online play. Even before the pandemic, the report records that 80% of global internet users already played video games. 
  • Post-Pandemic Habits: Despite the extra leisure time that’s opened up for some during Covid-19 preventative measures, 20% of internet users say they expect to continue to stream more content once restrictions are relaxed. And an additional 15% think they’ll maintain their extra social media usage. 
    Look out for our Post-Coronavirus Consumer Culture report, publishing June 22, for more on how behaviours are expected to change after the pandemic. 
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