How the Pandemic has Changed our Online Behaviour
Who would have thought that this time last year we would spend the majority of the next 12 months locked down? So much has changed since then, including the way we use the internet and interact on it.
“As millions of people go online for entertainment and more, total internet hits have surged by between 50% and 70%, according to preliminary statistics. Streaming has also jumped by at least 12%, estimates show” - Forbes.
So we know that we are spending more time online, but just exactly how has the pandemic changed our online behaviour?
1. We’ve adapted our social habits
Many of us have been separated from friends and family since the pandemic began and with our social lives finding a different path, we have turned to the internet to bring us closer together. We’ve mastered the art of group Zoom chats, enjoyed the novelty of Netflix Party film viewings and have become part of the enormous Animal Crossing community.
But it’s not just the company of friends and family that we’ve been craving. In the online dating world, Tinder also saw a new trend. “In the UK, daily conversations rose by 12% between mid-February and the end of March ” - BBC.
2. We’ve ditched the small screens
Apps are perfect for when you’re on the go - we are all guilty of squinting into our phones whilst commuting, queuing or waiting for an appointment.
But now that these common daily activities have been put on hold and we are spending more time at home, it’s unsurprising that we have turned to larger screens and websites for convenience and comfort.
“Facebook, Netflix and YouTube have all seen user numbers on their phone apps stagnate or fall off as their websites have grown” - New York Times.
3. Our homes are now our offices
In the UK, we were advised to work from home where possible, and so we did. Zoom was the number one technology trend in 2020 and saw an explosive increase in usage:
“At the end of December , the app reported a maximum of 10 million daily users. By March , 200 million people were on it each day to work” - The Guardian. By summer of lockdown 1.0, an astounding “49% of workers reported working from home at some point in the seven days to 14 June, up from 41% the previous week” - The Guardian.
4. Online vs offline games
Massive sporting events like the Olympics and Wimbledon were cancelled in 2020, but that didn’t stop people coming together online to play games:
“At a time in which many industries are in dire straits, sales in gaming are booming. Global revenue is expected to jump 20% this year  to $175bn (£130bn)” - BBC. The live-streaming platform Twitch "clocked five billion hours of viewed content in the second quarter of 2020 alone” - BBC. This is a staggering 83% increase in engagement from last year.
5. ‘Doomscrolling’ has entered our vocabulary
Doomscrolling is a new word used to describe the tendency to repetitively scroll or surf through bad news online, even though it might be causing the viewer to feel negative emotions, such as disheartened or depressed. While doomscrolling has existed in practice long before the pandemic began, it has really come into the forefront of people’s lives lately, what with everything going on in the world.
6. We are turning to the internet for therapy
The internet has proven to be a lifeline for so many of us throughout this pandemic. We are able to keep in touch with our nearest and dearest, not only by call, but via video chat too. Gaming also continues to bring people together from across the world. But it’s not just the social aspects keeping us afloat throughout Covid. “One type of support that is on offer for people with mental health issues is internet-based therapy, which involves chatting to someone and getting advice online” - BBC.
So, it’s clear to see just how much the pandemic has changed our online behaviour, but how can you adapt your business to ensure continued success?
It’s no wonder that many of us have been experiencing a fluctuation in income since the beginning of the pandemic and “UK unemployment is likely to reach 2.6 million in the middle of 2021” - BBC. Customers are going to need to feel reassured when it comes to spending, so now more than ever it might be wise to offer flexible payment terms, promotions and offers. Value for money is key here, as is quality customer service.
Can you deliver?
With non-essential brick-and-mortar shops closed, people have turned to delivery services and companies like Amazon have been reaping the rewards. Of course, it depends on your type of business, but you may be able to adapt your products to package them up and deliver them. For instance, if you are a small business selling art supplies, can you put together craft kits for your customers? One of the beneficial things about being online, is there are plenty of marketing options for many different business types.
The internet is your friend
With so many people turning to the internet, now is the perfect time to seize any opportunities you might have and really focus on your online presence and engagement with your customers. Offer tutorials, go live to answer questions, do a behind-the-scenes tour - get creative and show off your sparkling personality!
If you’re still not sure how to adapt in 2021, we might be able to help your business. Book a complimentary consultation call with us, it’ll just take 15 minutes of your time over the phone: https://www.socialfireworks.co.uk/book-a-call