COVID-19: Social Media Usage Impact
A surge in non-traditional social media and the continuation of social commerce are two social media usage trends post-COVID-19.
SURGE IN NON-TRADITIONAL SOCIAL MEDIA
- While the COVID-19 pandemic has increased online activity and social media usage among nearly half of internet users, this growth provides another indication for social media usage beyond COVID-19 as the new behavior becomes more rampant/regular.
- About 47% of internet users between 16 and 64 years are spending 23% longer on social media globally and in the US. However, increased social media usage is more evident in the younger age group of 16-24-year-olds.
- According to research by the Global Web Index (GWI), about 15% of internet users expect to continue spending more time on social media after COVID-19.
- The use of social media is going beyond messaging and venturing more into video calling, and this has lead to a surge in the downloads of social networks such as Zoom and Google Meet. This trend is expected to outlast the pandemic.
- Zoom, which was not typically classified as a social platform in the past, has risen to demand and is increasingly being utilized for in-person social interactions. It is now primarily a social platform for millions of people.
- Other alternative social media platforms such as Twitch for the gaming community are also seeing similar usage increases expected to go beyond 2020.
- Axios has also noted that "a move to more face-to-face digital interactions may be an important legacy of coronavirus lockdowns on the world's social media behaviors." The pandemic is serving to deepen the immersion of users in social media and online engagement.
SOCIAL COMMERCE WILL CONTINUE
- Before the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers frequently engaged businesses through social media, as did the brands in selling their products and services. COVID-19 has led to changes in consumer behavior that is expected to impact how they utilize social media beyond the pandemic.
- According to research published by Business Insider Intelligence and eMarketer, 74.6% of US consumers have indicated that if the country's pandemic situation worsens, they are likely to avoid shopping centers and malls. About 50% of them said that they would stay away from physical stores in general.
- This change is thus driving the trend of buying online.
- Ad engagement has increased on social media, with consumers indicating that they expect brands to establish a balance between promoting their products through influencers and acknowledging the pandemic.
- While 38% of consumers are sharing entertainment online (most popular category), 27% of them are gathering information regarding food and supplies. The days from March 10-20, 2020, saw a 200% increase in digital spending for essential goods such as food and personal care.
- Nearly half of consumers (49%) want brands to remain an integral aspect of their social media experience.