Information, Data, and Statistics Surrounding Global Media and Data Consumption (Usage) and Trends

As COVID-19 swept the globe in 2020, and as many countries implemented lockdowns and stay at home guidelines, the digital behaviors of people changed in many ways. The question is, will these behaviors endure when the virus is finally under control, or are these behaviors permanent? Only time will tell. Regardless, there have been meaningful increases in various kinds of digital activity, which are explored in this research project.
We have curated eleven pieces of information, data, and/or statistics surrounding internet usage globally. This has included, but not been limited to, smartphone internet usage, home usage and whether there are any age/country/gender related factors to this usage. We have also presented five pieces of information, data, and/or statistics surrounding social media usage. This has included, but not been limited to, the usage trends of Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. In another section, we have provided six pieces of information, data, and/or statistics surrounding the streaming habits of people, and we also identified five pieces of information, data, and/or statistics that focuses on videoconferencing. We rounded out this project by providing five pieces of information, data, and/or statistics surrounding 5G. This has included, but not been limited to, how the coronavirus has impacted its deployment and the expected impact it might have on media and data consumption (usage). For all aspects of this project, when we were able, we showed specific nuances across regions (NA vs. EMEA vs. APAC) where applicable. The entire research project is focused on the present time (with any comparisons to the past when relevant) and has a global focus.

Internet Usage Globally

In-Home and Media Consumption Changes: Trended Data

Global digital population as of July 2020

Internet bandwidth at Internet exchange points, by country

Current Internet traffic

Social Media Usage Globally

Social Media users versus population over 13 years of age

Social Media Platform Users

  • GlobalWebIndex completed a massive study surrounding how COVID-19 has been influencing people’s digital behaviors across the world. It reveals that, on average, forty-three percent of people using the internet are spending much more time on social media. When digging into country data, there has been a reported increase of 64% in the Philippines, 59% in India, 55% in South Africa, 54% in Brazil, and 45% in Poland surrounding online social media use. The lowest percentage increases were seen in Germany (19%), Japan (23%), and the United States (28%). Australians are spending 33% more time on social media, with Singaporeans reporting an increase of 41% and the Chinese revealing that they are on social media 43% more often.
  • A 2019 Children and parents: media use and attitudes report published by OfCom (UK) [but not published until February 2020] takes a peek into the possible future adult use of social media. They focus on four age cohorts, and key takeaways include 21% of 8-11 year olds have a social media profile, which staggeringly spikes to 71% of 12-15 year olds. YouTube is rated very high by both age groups, with 74% of 8-11 year olds and 89% of 12-15 year olds, using this platform.

Media use by age

Streaming Usage Globally

  • Online streamers are spending more time online, which is not unexpected given the pandemic. Global online video streamers are spending 55% more time watching videos, 42% more time listening to streaming services, and 40% more time on computer/video games.
  • Online video streamers tend to platform cross-view, that is, watch more than one platform. When examining this, it was found that Amazon Prime viewers are much less likely to view other platforms on a regular basis. Netflix viewers are spending significant amounts of time on the platform now. Forty-one percent watch this streaming service every day but that percentage bumps to sixty-three percent of people who watch 4 or 5 days in a given week. Almost half (4 out of 10) weekly Hulu viewers have been watching Netflix every day since the pandemic began.
  • According to Alexia Quadrani, Head of U.S. Media Equity Research for J.P. Morgan, “[T]here has never been a point in history where so much original content is available. Amid the global pandemic, Verizon has reported that video streaming is up 12 percent. We think the ongoing spread of COVID-19 will lead to higher engagement and better subscriber growth for streaming services around the world near-term.”
  • Doug Anmuth, Head of J.P. Morgan U.S. Internet Equity Research asserts that “[F]or the first quarter new Netflix subscriptions were 15.8 million, which far surpassed J.P. Morgan estimates of 8.8 million, with strong upside in every region. However, this significant growth was already trending above expectations before the global crisis. Over the next few months, [Anmuth notes] subscriber additions could depend on the length of stay-at-home confinement, but having a bigger base of users now should make Netflix a larger service over time.”
  • In the United States, video game streaming is up seventy-five percent, according to Verizon data. A similar increase was observed in the first three weeks of February in China surrounding game time during lockdowns, with weekly game downloads up eighty percent compared to the full year of 2019, as revealed by App Annie.
  • In the third week of March 2020, total streaming was 168.7 billion minutes in the United States, with the fourth week at 161.4 billion minutes compared to 76.4 billion minutes and 69.8 billion minutes during the last two weeks of March 2019.

Streaming Minutes

Videoconferencing Usage Globally

  • According to App Annie, video conferencing apps (commonly referred to as business communication apps) saw March 2020 produce record levels of growth. Stay at home and work from home guidelines has created a never before seen surge in video conferencing apps. During the second week of March, business focused mobile app downloads reached 62 million, an all time record. For comparison, again according to App Annie, that figure represents an increase of 45% from the beginning of March, and up a startling 90% from the pre-pandemic weekly download average.

Business Apps See Record Growth

  • As is to be expected, business application downloads represent the highest growth in any category in both the iOS and Google Play stores. Digging into those apps, both Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts Meet rose in the rankings, but it was Zoom Cloud Meetings that was ranked the highest. When looking at country data, Zoom enjoyed large numbers of downloads in the United States, the United Kingdom, and across Europe. During that record-breaking week in the middle of March, “Zoom was downloaded 14 times more than its 2019 Q4 weekly average in the United States.; 20 times more in the United Kingdom; 22 times more in France; and an amazing 55 times more in Italy.” It is no coincidence that the countries that saw the biggest spikes are also the countries that initiated lockdowns first. Even though Zoom was the undisputed winner, both Google Hangouts Meet and Microsoft Teams also enjoyed spiking numbers of downloads. When looking at the same time span, “Hangouts Meet saw 30 times the weekly level of downloads compared to the last quarter of 2019 in the United States, while Teams saw an 11 times increase.”

growth video conferencing apps

Video Conferencing Apps

  • According to Tom Eagle, senior research director at Gartner, “[T]he COVID-19 crisis will be a catalyst for transformative work cultures and practices that will be significantly characterized by remote work. Video conferencing will become an indispensable tool for workforce collaboration and communication. This is a direct result of today’s digital workplace and the changing nature of work — as well as the current COVID-19 crisis — continuing to drive demand for video conferencing at an accelerated pace.”
  • According to research done by IBM in June, “eighty-one percent of those asked reported that they want to continue working remotely at least some of the time.” That is an increase from April where three-quarters of those asked said they wanted to do that. Well more than half of those surveyed (61%) are hoping that working from home will be the primary way they would work. Major corporations around the globe appear to agree with this sentiment, and have made some changes in their views surrounding remote work. According to a recent study by Morning Consult, “nearly fifty percent of adults who are able to work remotely believe that virtual meetings are at least as effective as in-person meetings.”

5G Deployment Globally

The role of 5G in the crisis

Glenn is the Lead Operations Research Analyst at The Digital Momentum with experience in research, statistical data analysis and interview techniques. A holder of degree in Economics. A true specialist in quantitative and qualitative research.

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