How Has Lockdown Changed Our Habits?

TV is king during Covid-19, but mobile is the future, with Gen Z consuming more short form videos, social media, music and mobile games. Lockdown increases children’s screen time and virtual interactions, as three quarters of children have turned to mobile or video gaming as a way of socialising with their friends. Covid-19 has created a nation of news junkies with over half the population consuming more news and social media during lockdown. Podcasts are the lockdown losers with only 13% of people listening to more during lockdown and half of people having never listened to a single podcast.

With people worldwide forced indoors and limited in their activities, new research from Supernode reveals the nation’s changing behaviours and attitudes when it comes to entertainment and content as a result of lockdown. Whilst television, YouTube and social media platforms like Tik-Tok are the big lockdown winners with huge increases in consumption, there have been only small consumption increases in podcasts, radio, online magazines and virtual exercise classes.

The most significant changes in behaviour since lockdown began have been with television, with half of people (50%) spending more time in front of the box (including terrestrial and streaming). Other big winners when it comes to increased consumption during lockdown include social media (43%), short-form content such as YouTube and TikTok (35%), music (35%), video games (25%), and radio (22%).

While consumers have naturally increased consumption of various forms of indoor entertainment, it is increased consumption of television that is deemed the habit that has the most chance of surviving post-Covid-19:

  • 23% of people believe that watching more TV will be a habit that remains after Covid-19
  • This was followed by reading the news more (23%)…
  • …and listening to more music (21%)
  • 16% said they don’t think any of these habits of behaviours will last, though this is led in particular by the oldest age groups (18% of 45-54-year-olds; 19% of 55-64-year-olds; and 22% of respondents aged 65+)

With the likes of PE with Joe Wicks a daily occurrence during lockdown and daily outings limited during the early stages of lockdown, there has also been a rise of at-home virtual fitness classes, with 17% consuming more. Interestingly, 57% of people have still never tried a virtual fitness class, even during lockdown, giving the virtual fitness space plenty of room to grow post-COVID-19.

Whilst TV remains king for the moment, Gen Z consumption during lockdown points to a future change in behaviour and move from TV to mobile. Gen Z consumed more short-form videos (60%), social media (57%), music (51%) and mobile games (45%) than any other form of entertainment during lockdown, with short-form video, music, and games named as the top three behaviours they believe will survive post-COVID-19 – all outlasting TV.

With restrictions beginning to ease, which of these changed behaviours will continue into a post-lockdown world? It seems that listening to podcasts and radio are among the biggest losers. Only 13% believe increased listening to podcasts is something that will continue, with over half of people (52%) having never listened to a single podcast to begin with, demonstrating the infancy of this audio format. Whilst almost a quarter of people have been listening to the radio more during lockdown, Just one in 10 (11%) believe this behaviour will continue post lockdown.

Although podcasts and radio may be amongst the biggest long-term losers, audio, in general, isn’t. The one commonality across all demographics both young (18 to 24) and old (55+) across both the UK and the US has been an increase in listening to music during lockdown, and a belief that this increased listening will continue post lockdown.

  • 35% said they are consuming more since music lockdown; 47% the same amount; with only 10% consuming less
  • 38%  of respondents in the US are consuming more, similar to the 32% across the pond in the UK
  • 51% of 18-24-year-olds have increased their music consumption during lockdown, as have 45% of those over 55
  • One in five (21%) believe this increased listening to music will continue post lockdown

Gina King, Managing Director at Supernode, comments:

“While we’ve all been forced to abandon some of our hobbies and regular day-to-day activities, not all entertainment is created equal. Television and streaming still remains a centrepiece of the living room, with users also turning to their favourite music platforms more so than ever before. While streaming services such as Netflix and Disney+ continue to grow from strength-to-strength, younger generations are more preoccupied with platforms like Tik-Tok, YouTube, and other forms of social media, as well as gaming. So while TV finds itself in a healthy position right now, all signs point toward mobile as the dominant platform for future generations.

The debate surrounding an ‘acceptable’ level of screen time for children is one that continues to rage on, but the increase in screen time brought about by lockdown may have set a tone that will be difficult to scale back; children are consuming more TV (51%), short-form videos (50%), video games (49%), music (41%), mobile games (41%) and social media (37%) since lockdown began.

While games have been a ‘go-to’ for many people during lockdown, over three quarters (77%) of children have turned to mobile or video games as a way of socialising with friends, with 34% of children using gaming as a creative outlet.

“Parents have long been fearful and conscious of how much time their children spend sat in front of a screen,” says King. “Lockdown has turned that fear into a reality, but the silver lining is that the way children are spending this time isn’t solely for entertainment purposes.  Games have become a social platform all of their own, with children maintaining and forging new friendships via video games, while also turning to the likes of Minecraft and Roblox to exercise their creative muscles. While the full extent of the lockdown period remains to be seen, we could see a generation of children who are more comfortable socialising through online platforms than in person.”