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27 April 2020
There’s no escaping it – up-to-the-minute news about COVID-19 seems to be everywhere. Whilst staying up to date and informed on the latest advice from international health authorities is important, the Loud Mouths have been looking for uplifting news and positive trends in the midst of lockdown as well.
There are plenty of industries and businesses that have continued to grow in spite of people having to stay home and self-isolate, such as subscription-based video on demand apps and websites, ecommerce sites, and social media platforms.
With app downloads and website traffic increasing as well, we’ve gathered up some of the digital trends we’ve seen since the beginning of this pandemic, to either give you some fun ideas to pass the time or inspiration for redirecting your business strategy during this pandemic.
With country-wide quarantines or advised self-isolation measures in place across the world, internet traffic across the world has increased at least 20% - if not more in some cities and countries (Data Center Knowledge, 2020). In the UK, BT say daytime internet usage has increased by 35-60%, which pales in comparison to the evening peak. Many company websites are seeing increases as well.
With so much misinformation circling the internet, or valid information changing minute by minute, the fact-checking Snopes has seen a 44% increase in traffic in March comparatively from February, translating in to roughly 36 million unique visitors. If you’re looking for the truth about coronavirus rumors that you’ve heard, join in with the other 36 million users ahead of you and check out Snopes!
Other sites are seeing even more impressive increases. Social media giants Facebook and Twitter have seen massive increases in the amount of traffic to their desktop sites since the last month of 2019, with growth being recorded as 70% month-on-month (Ezoic, 2020).
Many online grocery retailers and board game providers have seen spikes in traffic and sales as well (Marie Haynes, 2020). Electronics retailers in the UK who were prepared for a surge in online shopping saw month-on-month growth as high as 40% from February to March. Consumers were purchasing TVs, games consoles, and essential office equipment like computer monitors to allow them to work from home. The UK beauty industry also saw a spike of over 30% month-one-month over the same period, as “…consumers [treated] themselves occasionally despite being confined to their homes” (Econsultancy, 2020).
The Financial Times reported recently that the global games industry has seen a boost of almost $150 billion USD in China alone since the beginning of 2020. “Smartphone users in China downloaded a record number of games and other apps as the coronavirus confined tens of millions of people to their homes” (FT.com, 2020).
And in case you haven’t heard, Houseparty is one of the apps that is seeing the highest number of downloads. What is surprising about the usage of Houseparty is that it’s not just Millennials and Gen-Z that are contributing to this success – but their parents as well. In one snapshot of its month-on-month growth, Houseparty shot up from 130,000 weekly downloads to over 2 million weekly downloads, and is currently ranked at “…number one in the Apple app store in 17 countries including the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy” (FT.com, 2020).
With public places like bars, restaurants, parks, and public venues across the world closed to promote social distancing, it’s not surprising that social media apps like Instagram and TikTok have also seen their weekly downloads skyrocket as users across all age groups seek to make a social connection. In addition, as more and more people transition to working from home, work apps like China’s WeChat Work and America’s Zoom are becoming necessary for companies and their employees to stay connected (No Camels, 2020).
Streaming rates on paid music platforms such as Spotify dropped throughout March, but was met by an increase in music video views and playlist plays on YouTube. In Italy, for example, the number of music streams dropped by about 10% when the country-wide lockdown began; meanwhile, the YouTube views of music-related content have increased about 14% in March (Music Business Worldwide, 2020). Surprisingly, the amount of users listening to the radio has increased as well. Global, which owns Capital FM and talk station LBC, said online radio listening had risen by 15% during March (BBC, 2020).
The world of podcasts has been volatile since the middle of March, but some podcast content is doing surprisingly well, considering Spotify’s falling numbers in streaming. Podcast episodes that are COVID-19-focused are growing each day, with Acast, a podcast hosting, analytics, and ads platform, seeing podcast episodes with “corona content” growing from virtually 0 in January to 1,400 by the end of March with that fast-paced growth continuing. For example, 12 coronavirus-related episodes were available on their platform on March 1, with about 277,000 listens; on March 18, 96 episodes were available with 1.3 million listens — equaling a 370% increase in listens in just over two weeks. Other podcast genres that are seeing an increase in listens and downloads are fitness-related podcast, following the trend of users trying to use this time to get in shape (PodNews, 2020).
The way media is being consumed has changed drastically because of the global coronavirus pandemic. Though some industries and individual business are inevitably suffering, there are others who are growing during this time as they play important roles for consumers.
If the future of your business is uncertain or you are struggling to promote your business during this time, reach out to the Loud Mouth Media team for support and advice!