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How COVID19 changed the internet

2020-12-04

From Pfizer, Moderna to the University of Oxford, the COVID19 vaccine is just around the corner, and it feels like we can soon go back to normal, back to the life pre-pandemic. But there are some things that might never go back, such as internet traffic.

Internet consumption has grown significantly since the beginning of the pandemic, in fact, it went up so much that countries such as the UK and France and reporting slower average download speed. Let’s take a look at what are the factors.

Shopping online

Due to the pandemic and government regulations, shopping at a traditional retail store became a hassle. Standing in long lineups with a bunch of strangers became something many of us want to avoid. Pushing people to shop online. Within two weeks of Canadian cities beginning to implement regulations for bending the curve, online sales in the country had already doubled. Seeing this trend, many businesses are taking their business online as well. In fact, Shopify reported a record 62% surge in the creation of online stores in just six weeks.

The surge is not only contributed by existing businesses but also because the unemployment rate has also been on the rise, resulting in many people needed to find other means to keep things going financially. Opening up a shop online is one of the easier ways to start up a small business as the cost can be fairly low.

Even as restrictions ease, business owners that moved their business online will continue to operate their eCommerce front as well as their brick and mortar store.

Working and learning from home

Some businesses were able to transition their workforce from an office setting to working from home. Offices and classrooms have moved into our dining rooms. Meeting with colleagues and clients became virtual and we start to rely heavily on video conference platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet, and Skype. Real estate showing, automobile showroom all added the virtual showing option.

According to a report done by the BBC, the transition to working from home has some benefits that a lot of people want to keep. Less than 15% of the respondents wanted to go back to the full-time office setting. Many businesses are planning to only transition back to a hybrid office model when the pandemic is done and dealt with.

Students are having lectures online, with assignments being handed out on Google Classroom. University lecture hall that used to hold 300 people became 300 computers connected to each other. Younger children are having their group activities and reading lessons online as well.

Less going out, more staying home

This means more Netflix streaming and YouTube watching. Can’t gather with friends and family? Many of us are no longer satisfied with connecting through messaging. We are now in the time of hanging out with friends and family virtually as well. One example is that WhatsApp has seen double the amount of voice and video calls compared to the same time last year.

This also created an unexpected trend - ditching mobile. I’m sure all of us at some point heard someone say something like “I haven’t touched a computer in FOREVER”. This was true before the pandemic. In the past 5 years, we have seen a constant rise in internet traffic from mobile devices. However, since the pandemic, it has been the opposite. Because we are staying at home more and going out less, people are starting to be tired of the small screens from mobile devices. When we look at the internet traffic from March 2020 to November 2020, companies such as Facebook, Netflix, YouTube, which have both app and website, saw a huge increase in website traffic and a decrease in in-app traffic. Ok fine, this doesn’t mean people are ditching their iPhones, but it is definitely boosting the usage of laptop and desktop computers and internet consumption.

Video games have also seen a large increase in consumption. People have more time playing games online. Video game companies such as Nintendo saw a 41% surge in annual profit, and mobile game app Bunch Live saw 1 million new users over a 7 day period.

COVID-19 is a global pandemic, so it’s no surprise that this phenomenon is happening across the globe. The COVID19 pandemic will eventually be over, some of the changes will return to normal. But some of the changes will stay. People will continue to shop online and businesses that moved their products online will not close their eCommerce platform. Our dining room will remain our office for many of us due to the convenience factor, and also because many companies have already downsized their office. Educational institutions will continue to offer lessons and courses online as it has become cost-effective for many schools.

Contact us today to see how we can help you bring your business online.