Research study “The Global Pandemic, Lockdown Measures and New Digital Behaviours”

This research provides an overview on the impact of the global pandemic on citizens’ digital behaviours, having at the center the findings from the Lockdown and Digital Consumption Survey conducted by Digital Citizens, Think Tank from 15th April to 15th May 2020. A total of 364 participants from 48 countries took part in this survey.

The survey was conducted amidst the unprecedented spread of the COVID-19 virus across the world which necessitated a global Lockdown between February – May 2020 to impede the spread of the virus and the rates of infection. The term ‘Lockdown’ was used in the survey to describe the time schools and offices had closed.

People around the world turned to the Internet to do their work, study and stay connected with others as the outbreak forced people to stay home and away from the office and crowds. We asked respondents about the impact of the Lockdown on their online activities, barriers they faced and their perception of the digital options available, with a focus on the online behaviours of young people. Key findings in this report include:

  • Preferred online COVID-19 information sources
  • Impact of the lockdown on online activities and time spent online
  • Preferred social media and productivity platforms
  • New platform discoveries during the Lockdown
  • Significant barriers and concerns in the online world across survey demographics

We are sharing this information with stakeholders in order to better understand digital preferences, and, where the case, encourage them to use the insights to feed into the various policy design and service provision post-pandemic.

We hope the results will be used to propose solutions ‘for social good’, as well as new public policies that can sustainably shape our world after the COVID-19 crisis. Furthermore, a survey at a time where most people were forced to frequently use and assess what digital platforms best suit their needs will ideally offer quality and more realistic responses.

Key Findings

  1. Zoom was the most newly discovered platform during the Lockdown.
  2. Respondents who had no formal education or had some vocational training did not discover any new platforms, spent the least time online and only 2% had completed any online course in the past.
  3. 46% of respondents indicated that poor Internet quality was a significant barrier – respondents from every global region also noted the Internet quality as being poor, however, about 50% of those living in the Sub-Saharan Africa region also indicated the cost of the internet as a significant barrier.
  4. 37% of respondents indicated concerns about cybersecurity and data protection issues – with 79% of them in the 18-34 age group, and 78% with a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  5. Respondents from Italy (94%) are the largest group who spent the most time online during the Lockdown (5 hours or more daily).
  6. United States respondents represent the biggest population (85%) indicating they had completed at least one online course pre-pandemic. The highest for the 48 countries in the survey.
  7. Respondents from Romania (65%) discovered the most share of new platforms during the Lockdown