UK adults spent an average four hours online during coronavirus pandemic lockdowns, up from 3.5 hours previously, marking a shift in user behaviour.
That’s according to new research by Ofcom which found that adults stayed in touch and entertained online with their mobile devices and computers.
We’ve previously seen app usage reports showing spikes in downloads and installs so these aren’t exactly revelations.
However, Ofcom pointed out that TiKTok saw 12.9 million UK adult users in April, more than double (5.4 million) compared to January 2020.
Twitch users increased form 2.3 million to 4.2 million.
Video calls also doubled during lockdowns with seven in 10 respondents saying they made weekly calls. Houseparty users grew from 175,000 to 4 million during lockdowns.
“The report demonstrates closed ecosystems like social media have become further intertwined in people’s lives during the pandemic and are now ‘essential items’ of sorts. Covid-19 has changed the way consumers communicate, which naturally means businesses and brands, too, have to be agile in their communications and build empathy with their audiences,” said Karl Knights, Vice President in EMEA for marketing technology company 4C.
“Using social media to take centre, closed ecosystems will play a key role in revitalising society as we embrace a ‘new normal’ – putting the ‘social’ into social distancing. As the report points out, sites and apps such as YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok have never been so popular. However, expectations are higher now. Seeking more than mere engagement, people want transparency and authenticity built in to the experience that reflect their core values.”
YouTube, Instagram and TiKTok were being used by nine in 10 adults and most older kids during the pandemic. Around 32% of adults were spending more time viewing video-sharing services compared to television. And generally, adults felt positive about sharing and creating content on these apps.
“Our data shows that global in-app revenue has continued to rise during the pandemic, growing 36 per cent since mid-March – demonstrating the importance of recognising changes in consumer behaviour and focusing ad spend on current areas of engagement,” said Paul Wright, Managing Director at AppsFlyer.
“It is important for brands to use this time to create a new relationship with consumers; one less focused on boosting immediate sales and more focused on building long-term loyalty. By supporting customers and engaging with them via mobile and apps that are providing entertainment, brands can gain positive mindshare for the future.”