As a result of the global pandemic, our habits have changed through necessity as we have been ordered to stay at home. 2020 is a year that we will never forget because of COVID-19, but it is also a time that we will never forget because it has accelerated our behaviour towards the consumption of online services.
From online shopping to settling down to our favourite series on Netflix, our daily life has changed hugely throughout the last few months. When this chapter in human history is long behind us, no doubt its effects will remain with much of the new behaviours we have adopted set to remain for the short and long-term.
It has been reported that the current situation has accelerated the move to online shopping by five years because all non-essential shops had been forced to close for months. Even essential shops, such as grocery stores, have seen huge demands for online deliveries skyrocket during the pandemic, with consumers unwilling to head out into enclosed spaces with others outside of their household.
Online shopping certainly isn’t anything new, and human behaviour has been moving more and more away from the high street anyway, which is why it is hard to see our return to the same levels we were at pre-COVID.
This shift has forced numerous businesses to improve their online presence to retain custom to navigate their way through these challenging times, especially with shops unable to return to full capacity owing to social distancing measures now that they can re-open.
How many times have you dropped loose change into a bucket or visited a charity shop? Right now, this isn’t something that we can do so we are having to consider other ways of fulfilling our charitable needs online.
For some, this won’t involve any change at all with millions of Muslims giving their Qurbani donation online at this time of year, while other religious charities have also long since adopted digital platforms for fundraising needs.
Charity, though, isn’t just the donation of money. We can give toys, clothing and even our own time for worthy causes. Charities, then, have made the most online campaigns and courier services that allow donors to send their donations.
During the lockdown, we are spending an extra 37 minutes online on average. Social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have been utilised as ways and means of keeping in contact with friends and family, with face-to-face contact forbidden for many weeks before an easing of restrictions.
Zoom has certainly been the big winner during the pandemic, if there is one, with thousands of people who may never have heard of the software welcoming the technology into their day.
This time has also allowed us to share our experiences which, for those who have been isolated, offers comfort to show that they are not alone. While social media has its criticisms, much of it deserved, its ability to keep society connected cannot be downplayed during these crazy times.
Around a month after the lockdown was implemented, Netflix announced the streaming service had seen 16 million new sign-ups. In any context, those are amazing figures and, at the same time, isn’t at all surprising.
With millions of people forced to stay at home, many of which had been furloughed and unable to work, there hasn’t been much else to do than binge-watch your favourite box sets.
Mix that in with many popular television shows have fallen victim to the pandemic and forced to pause filming, this has seen a greater reliance on streaming services to provide the entertainment that fills the gap in our lives. As well as Netflix, other streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub and All 4 have also seen upticks in users.