We are all stuck at home, and have been for awhile! Although the closure of many , shopping isn’t the only way we’re using the internet these days. Our social platforms are different, website usage is increasing drastically, and the way we connect has changed too. So how has COVID-19 affected our daily life, office hustle, and social community?
Websites vs. Apps
Behaviors have shifted as the virus continues to spread and is pushing us to use our devices to work, connect, and have fun. Although Americans are usually known to “live through our phones”, we are seeing that be less and less true the deeper we get into this quarantine. Website usage is drastically increasing while app usage is almost at a standstill. Does that mean we aren’t interested in connecting? It may actually mean the opposite if we look at the recent trends for Facebook, Netflix, and YouTube.
Facebook.com has increased by 27%, Netflix.com is up 16% and YouTube has increased usage by 15.3%. On the contrary, app usage has come to a halt. Facebook app usage has only increased by 1.1% during this pandemic, the Netflix app is barely up by .3%, and users are using the YouTube app 4.5% less than before! So yes we are still streaming with this extra time at home, but since social gatherings and events have been cancelled it seems we are spending more time browsing on our laptops than our cellphones.
It is probably not surprising that social and streaming platforms like Facebook or Netflix are increasing during this quarantine. The biggest behavioral change we are seeing is actually through how we connect in our daily life. Our offices and schools are moving to our living rooms and basements through video chatting and online interactions. Apparently texting and chatting isn’t enough during these times – we want to see each other! Google Duo and Classroom, Zoom, Nextdoor.com, and Houseparty are just a few video chat platforms that are increasing. Zoom has more than tripled their user base! Around March 1, 2020 Zoom had about 2.5 million users – currently Zoom has over 6 million active users. Google Classroom is at a close second with 5 million users. Whether we are actually using these video platforms to work, play, or connect with friends and family it’s clear there is definitely a significant increase across the board. We are finding new ways to connect and see each other’s faces while being stuck at home.
Sports vs. Gaming
A final trend we are seeing change is the comparison between video games and sports. As a sports driven nation, there are many fans that are disappointed and upset about the suspension of the NBA season. The virus is also leaving the upcoming MLB and NFL seasons in uncertainty. ESPN viewers are watching replays of their favorite games, matches, and championships since all sports events have been cancelled. So although we are a sports nation, ESPN viewers have dwindled by 40%! Americans are spending less time watching their favorite players and taking sports into their own hands through video gaming and online matches between friends. We are seeing an increase of over 60% for video gaming sales and video game usage is up by 75% since the first week of quarantine.
So how does this affect social platforms? Online networks like Twitch and Tiktok are taking over. The average daily traffic for Twitch is currently at 6 million users, and Tiktok has a staggering 19 million active users. Although sports is declining at the moment, video gaming and online social gaming platforms are on the rise.
Change is inevitable but we have had to embrace so many changes during COVID-19 and social distancing is our new normal. Although life is different, we’ve adapted and found new ways to connect and carry out daily life through our social platforms. Website usage is increasing, and we are connecting through video chatting networks like Zoom and Google Classroom. The cancellation of sports events may have lowered viewings and halted our sports culture, but it has allowed video gaming users to open up new ways to stay connected. The virus may have forced us home, but we’ve shown that we will still connect and support one another no matter what.
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