Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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The Covid-19 pandemic is largely accepted as an unprecedented calamity by most people globally, yet if you look back in time, crises of similar proportions abound the pages of history. However, if there is one factor that gives this pandemic a different dimension, then it is technology.

None of the great historical crises were accompanied by advanced technologies that are easily accessible to most of the global population today. The connectivity that Covid-19 took away from the masses was efficiently restored by the internet. After countrywide global lockdowns were implemented, in a matter of days, everything shifted to the online module and nations and businesses started functioning effectively.

Humans are essentially social beings and if compelled to stay in their homes for months, could have developed catastrophic complications, had they not been connected virtually. Internet was the only thing that allowed people to keep themselves entertained, enabled them to work and allowed them to keep in touch with their friends and family.

Quite expectedly thus, internet data consumption in 2020 increased phenomenally. An analysis of the data consumption by internet customers helps us understand how people are spending their time post the pandemic and allows us to get a glimpse of their changing habits.

According to the data gathered by the Wall Street Journal from VerizonSpecials, American people spent most of their time on gaming consoles and streaming devices between 2019 and 2020. The daily average data usage for gaming consoles and streaming devices grew by almost 50% in the last one year between the months of January through May. Smart TVs have seen the third greatest uptick in data usage followed closely by traditional computers and phones.

Image Source: Statista

The data consumption changes clearly show that people are spending much more time entertaining themselves by playing online games or using streaming services than speaking with friends or working. Both gaming and streaming service providers have witnessed historic rise in their user base and subscriptions over the last six months.

Responding to the growing consumer demand, streaming and gaming companies have consistently added new content and gaming upgrades, etc. Amazon Prime, Netflix and other streaming companies continued releasing new movie and show, while mainstream cinema took a pause. In order to capitalize the current consumer sentiment, platforms are emphasizing on generating more original content either by creating new shows or sourcing them from different parts of the world.

In the gaming domain, while innovations and upgrades at the software level have surged, major launches are expected in the hardware zone. Big players like Microsoft and Sony are gearing up for releasing their much awaited next-generation gaming consoles in November. Indeed, the timing of these launches couldn’t have been better, especially as the winter months are expected to see more people glued to their TVs or gaming consoles in a bid to avoid catching the virus.

Tracking the device-specific data usage has shed light on the most popular internet activities with certainty. Since the consumer habit remained consistent in the past half a year, assumptions can be made that the same patterns will persist in near future, for at least one year if not more, and business organizations can take commercial decisions based on these findings.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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