October 16, 2020

Is technology saving Americans from loneliness?

Sadia Corey, VP, Client Development
A simple hug or face to face conversation with a friend or family member can be the best way to alleviate anxiety or worry

As a nation, we have been faced with challenge, after challenge, after challenge over the past eight months

We have had to adapt to new routines, new work schedules, new ways of shopping. But, perhaps, the hardest thing of all has been adapting to the reduction in physical communication with our loved ones.

It’s the thing we turn to when we are at our lowest ebb. A simple hug or face to face conversation with a friend or family member can be the best way to alleviate anxiety or worry. But coronavirus has taken that away from us – and learning how to cope with that loss has been a huge challenge – perhaps one of the biggest.

With travel and transport restricted and in-home meet ups scrapped, the one thing we can all be thankful for is the astonishing advance of our technology, which has allowed us to plug in some of the gap. Yes, it’s not the same as being with people in real life, but it has certainly provided us with comfort that has been desperately needed in recent months.

More than a quarter (29%) of those who didn’t use any form of communications apps before COVID-19 have started using one due to lockdown as a way of keeping in touch with others.

Facebook messenger, followed by Instagram and Facetime are the top three apps used for personal communication in normal times.

Half (54%) of consumers believe that their own usage of personal communications apps to communicate with friends and family has increased from the pre COVID period – naturally due to restrictions and living in separate locations to our loved ones.

The top apps that witnessed an increase in usage during lockdown were Google Duo (59%), Facetime (59%) and Skype (57%). And, amazingly, Google Hangouts and Instagram managed to increase their usership during lockdown by a whopping 22% and 16% respectively – a generous number bearing in mind the number of people who already use those apps.

Eight in ten (81%) use their personal communications apps for instant messaging, followed by video calling (70%) and audio calls (50%).

And it’s not just in people’s personal lives. Businesses are getting on board with the new trend too, with close to one-fifth (18%) of those who did not use any form of communications app before COVID saying that they now do use one specifically for work.

Two of the most notable heroes in the business communications world include Zoom and Microsoft Teams, who have increased their usership during COVID by 24% and 13% respectively.

Though we all are looking ahead to the return of normality and being able to reconnect with our loved ones in person, we are lucky to have a wealth of technology at our fingertips that allows us to stay connected to the people we care about most.

And, in the future, perhaps new adopters of communications apps will continue to use them as a means to spend even more time catching up with friends and family – in between those ever-precious real-life meetings.

To find out more about this research, please get in touch.


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