How much extra time have you spent online during a lockdown?
The Covid-19 crisis has transformed most people’s habits in one way or another, affecting everything from exercise routines and work to socializing.
And with all of us spending so much more time indoors and relying on the internet to connect to the outside world, UK consumers’ internet usage has reached an all-time high.
Research by Ofcom shows that internet users in the United Kingdom spent four hours and two minutes online every single day in April 2020, a record figure. This maximum internet use amounts to 37 minutes more per day than in January 2020.
Crucially, four-fifths of the time adults spent online involves smartphones. They let consumers go shopping, interact with friends, find a hot date, play games — smartphones open the world up to users. That’s why the number of people who rely on laptops or desktop computers to go online only (i.e. never using smartphones for internet usage) dropped to 4 percent in 2019.
What Online Services Have Smartphone Users Turned to During Lockdown?
Some of the biggest services which attracted the most attention from smartphone users throughout lockdown include TikTok, Zoom, and Houseparty.
Ofcom’s data reveals that TikTok’s UK user base swelled to more than 12 million from January to April 2020. Houseparty enjoyed similar success, jumping to 4 million from 175,000.
None of this is surprising. Zoom and Houseparty have served an invaluable purpose during the lockdown, as friends, families, and close work teams have relied on communication platforms to stay in touch. TikTok, meanwhile, has allowed internet users to express themselves creatively.
Of course, the rise of Just Eat, Deliveroo, Uber Eats, and similar delivery services have been a lifeline during the lockdown, too. Restaurants and cafes have been closed, but many have continued to offer takeaway services through these popular smartphone apps.
As a result, the food-delivery market has fared well, with Just Eat’s share price rising by more than 16 percent between January and May 2020 and Ocado’s by 31 percent.
Internet users can go online via smartphones quicker and easier than ever now, as even the most affordable budget smartphones accommodate most apps. With so many mobile deals online, smartphone users can purchase the latest models at cost-effective prices suitable for diverse budgets.
The competitive natures of brands’ International mobile operations drive affordable price points and incentives (e.g. unlimited data for no maximum internet use cut-off, O2 Priority, etc.) to motivate consumers.
This provides shoppers with a huge range of mobile deals online, with something for any personal taste. And a number of businesses provide phone contracts for people with low credit scores, giving all adults across the UK the chance to get a phone with bad credit.
Lockdown has demonstrated just how valuable smartphones, apps, and the internet are to people all over the world. The freedom to get a phone with bad credit and go online without fear of reaching a maximum internet use cut-off point means there’s no reason for any adult to feel isolated from their friends, relatives, and (in most cases) work.
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