Technology Connectivity Trends Due to COVID-19

Goals

To identify some technology connectivity trends in the US before and during COVID times.

Early Findings

Importance of Internet Connectivity During the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • Due to the lockdown induced by the COVID-19 pandemic that has driven almost all commercial and social activities online, technology connectivity has significantly increased in the US.
  • In a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in April 2020, 53% of US adults stated that the internet has been essential for them during the lockdown period, while a further 34% stated it as important. A few technological trends in the US arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic are discussed below.

Rise in the Usage of Video Chatting Applications Due to Increase in Social Distancing

  • With the increase in social distancing arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic, US citizens are seeking out new ways to connect with their family and friends, like video chatting.
  • As a result, video chatting applications and video conferencing software have been in huge demand, especially during the COVID-19 lockdown period. In March 2020, there were 62 million downloads of video conferencing apps in the US.
  • A poll conducted by Ipsos between April 23-24, 2020, found that 57% of US citizens were using video chatting platforms or video conferencing apps during the COVID-19 lockdown period. 38% of the respondents said that they had never used such applications before the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Due to schools and colleges shifting to online classes and companies to remote work, young adults are using such video chatting platforms more than the other age groups. In the Ipsos survey, 74% of the respondents aged 18-34 years said that they were using video chatting apps, while 61% of the respondents in the age group 35-54 years and 39% of the respondents above the age of 55 years said the same.
  • US citizens working full-time are more likely to be using the video chatting platforms (66%) than retired Americans (36%).
  • 85% of the respondents stated that they will continue to use the video chatting and video conferencing applications even after the COVID-19 lockdown.
  • According to the Ipsos survey, the most popular video chatting platforms are Zoom (used by 66% of the respondents) and FaceTime (used by 48% of the respondents).
  • According to SimilarWeb and Apptopia, the usage of Google Duo increased by 12.4% in the US between January 15, 2020 (pre-COVID period) and March 24, 2020 (during the lockdown period). Other video chatting applications like Nextdoor and Houseparty saw an increase of 73.3% and 79.4% respectively during the said period.

Increase in the Website Traffic of Entertainment Streaming Services

  • With all public gatherings, theaters, theme parks shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in the usage of entertainment streaming services like Netflix and YouTube.
  • However, since most people are inside their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic period and have ready access to laptops and computers, there has been a significant increase in the website traffic, compared to than apps.
  • The above has been a significant shift from the past few years when the users were moving to their smartphones because of time and access constraints.
  • According to SimilarWeb and Apptopia, the website traffic of Netflix and YouTube increased by 16% and 15.3% respectively in the US between January 15, 2020 (pre-COVID period) and March 24, 2020 (during the lockdown period).
  • In comparison, the app traffic of Netflix increased by only 0.3% whereas the app traffic of YouTube decreased by 4.5% in the US between January 15, 2020 (pre-COVID period) and March 24, 2020 (during the lockdown period).

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