How Internet Use Changed in a Year of the Pandemic

Now that a year has passed since the coronavirus pandemic, it is time to look back and analyze how COVID-19 has changed the way we interact with the internet. This is one of the research lines that the AIMC (Association for Media Research) has in their 23rd edition of the AIMC survey for Internet users, Navigators on the Net, one of the longest running studies of internet usage, this year paying special attention to how the coronavirus has changed the way we use the internet.

Internet users claim to have better knowledge of tools and technology to their homes in the past year

As we extract from this report, there are eight trends that could be noted in terms of how the way people interact with the internet has evolved over the past 12 months. They would be the following:

1- Greater digital knowledge. Teleworking, the need to communicate with family and friends by video call, take courses over the Internet, has created the need for users to deepen their digital knowledge. 48% of the respondents state that they are now “making better use of the possibilities of the Internet” and 36.7% are now familiar with more programs or applications than before the pandemic.

For example, the use of electronic signatures or electronic DNIs has increased significantly (up to 25.3% of users use them, compared to 15.3% last year). In the same way, the number of people who have taken an online training course is also growing (48% of Internet users).

2. Video call growth. Almost half of users (47.7%) made a video call this year (12 months ago the percentage was 22.9%). One in four users also makes video calls every day.

74.8% of the respondents do this for personal reasons and 60.2% for professional or academic reasons (27.5%). The most used applications are WhatsApp video calls (67.6%), Zoom (42.5%), Microsoft Teams (30.7%), Skype (29.7%), Google Meet (25.3%) and Facetime (14.0%).
Other Internet services related to communication with others that were also used more frequently were daily use of e-mail (93.1%, +5 points compared to the previous year), instant messaging (87.1%, +4 points) ) and social networks networks (86.6%, +3 points), which have reached all-time highs for these last two services.

3. Increase in online purchases. 96.3% of those surveyed had made an online purchase in the past year. In addition, after the pandemic, 39.6% already stated that they made the majority of their purchases via the Internet.

Apparel and accessories, electronics and electronic gadgets are the most common products purchased over the past year, although the grocery sector has grown significantly as well. Most users prefer to pay by credit card (82.8%), although the use of Paypal (48%) and Bizum (20.5%) is also increasing.

4. Use of QR / BIDI codes. To avoid physical contact, the use of QR codes has exploded. Last year, 87% of users said they had used it and only 7.6% had never used it.

5. Increase in teleworking. 82.8% of respondents would choose to work from home at least half of the time, and 23.5% would prefer to always telework, according to the report. Additionally, 6 in 10 respondents say they will continue to telework after the pandemic ends as long as it is done more safely.

6. Use of apps on COVID. Despite the fact that the usefulness of Radar COVID has been questioned, 36.6% of respondents say they have it installed. Of course, 41.5% have this or another app with information about the coronavirus on their mobile phone.

7. More technological houses. 62.2% of respondents say they have purchased technology for their home since the beginning of the pandemic. 26% have replaced their cell phones and 25% have bought a new computer. Now more than 20% have improved their home internet connection.

8. Digital media consumption. Now more information is being consumed on the internet. 59.3% of users only read the electronic version of newspapers, while only 4.1% only keep the paper version. 17% of Internet users have already subscribed to a newspaper or magazine via the Internet. In addition, 30.6% listen to the radio online.

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