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Smartphones and lockdowns make a poor pair

Smartphones and lockdowns make a poor pair

The lockdown or stay-at-home notice advisory for Americans see them spending more of their time in the virtual world than ever before. This is far from surprising, as Internet traffic has surged during this period. However, Analysis by SimilarWeb and Apptopia shows that online behavior has changed as the pandemic sweeps its way across the United States (US). For the first time ever, we have statistical sources collected by two online data providers that enable us to observe a possible link between the spread of the virus and Internet usage figures. Apparently, smartphones seem to negatively bear the brunt of this interesting development.

The exclusive report on Internet consumption by the New York Times sheds light on one of the questions that many in the media industry and beyond are asking: Who are the big winners of the lockdown? The answer is obvious: those who are digital giants. Do take note that interpolating and interpreting such data can be subjective and could point to a longer-term trend, so nothing is in stone at the end of the day. However, while the study points to more and more people going online, smartphones do not seem to be on an upward trajectory as the tool of the trade. 

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Screen showing popular smartphone applications. / © Welt

Prior to the lockdown, the number of smartphone users going online continue to explode and grow year-on-year, changing the digital landscape in the process. The lockdown has served an interesting counter-culture perspective: as more and more people spend their days indoors without venturing out unless for essentials such as groceries, Americans seem to prefer going online using computers. Perhaps they have remembered that squinting at smaller phone screens is an unpleasant experience. 

What data is there to back up this assertion that smartphone usage has dropped during the lockdown? There is a significant reduction in the use of mobiles.

Proof of this diversion of smartphones is the significant drop in accessing such digital services through mobile applications. According to the study by SimilarWeb and Apptopia; Facebook, Netflix, and YouTube have all seen the number of users of their mobile applications stagnate or decline as opposed to a marked increase on their respective websites. This report based its findings on a statistical study of traffic figures from several independent sources in order to recreate data that can be applied across the Internet.

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Comparison between website traffic and that on dedicated applications. / © The New York Times

It might still be early days to arrive at a conclusive conclusion from these statistics. The same study also confirmed the growth of teleworking sites, video sharing applications such as TikTok and other traditional media. Either way, it will be interesting to see if people decide to use their smartphones in the same usage pattern as they did before once the lockdown is lifted and life enters into a 'new normal' phase. This data might not faze smartphone manufacturers who have many devices scheduled for release this year, where some of them will still carry a premium price tag despite the highly probably severe economic downturn that is set to happen. We will see whether consumers will bite or play the role of Scrooge.

Which devices are you using more during the lockdown? Your smartphone, tablet, or computer?

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  • During the lockdown, I 've moved my PC to my bedroom and I 've connected it to my HI-FI sound system. So I prefer to use it for almost everything: listen to music, surf the Internet, make conference calls...


  • I am working from Home since March 6th, so I am in my second month. I to am over 60 so going out in publicis not advised and I'm keeping it to an absolute minimum. I mostly use my work laptop and my phone for calls and texting. Stay safe everyone.

    SorinDeactivated Account


  • marco sarli
    • Admin
    1 month ago Link to comment

    I am on computer most of the time. The phone is mostly for voice communication and messages for businnes as we do deliveries. I work better on a big screen and have always done so. When I am outside I never touch the phone except when it rings or if there is a notification from our web shop with its own sound. You will never see me walking around or driving looking at the phone.


  •   46
    Deactivated Account 1 month ago Link to comment

    I am on my computer a lot, here in the Philippines we are on total lock down and being over 60 I am not allowed out. I've been doing a lot of property hunting I want a couple of hectors outside the city because I case this does not go away and being ready for the next one. I have not charged my phone for 2 days and still have 43%.


  • storm 1 month ago Link to comment

    My PC has had more use than usual but my Samsung S5e tablet gets most of my use same as before coronavirus.

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