A study released by SMARTY the SIM-only mobile network, exploring the nation’s mobile data usage habits since lockdown, reveals Brits on average are using a huge 11GB mobile data extra per month.
Two in five (40%) have said their phone has made their lives much easier during lockdown. Looking at how the extra data is being used, it’s no surprise the number one reason listed is down to video calling loved ones (50%), followed by gaming (27%), new online exercise regimes (20%) and learning new skills (16%).
As two in three Brits (61%) turn to film and TV to combat lockdown boredom, the study reveals the most popular entertainment streaming apps to use on mobiles are: Netflix (37%), BBC iPlayer (24%), Amazon Prime Video (20%) followed by the newly launched Disney+ (12%).
The study that polled Brits working from home found many have used their phones to hotspot other devices. A quarter in isolation (26%) are using their data to tether their laptops, more than a fifth (21%) to smart TVs and 19% to tablets. Interestingly, nearly a quarter (23%) of British males have been tethering games consoles with their mobile whilst at home.
The research shows distinct differences on data usage between generations during lockdown; with a whopping one in five Gen Z mobile users (20%) using 40GB or more data than usual in lockdown compared with 12% of millennials, 10% of Gen X and 7% of those aged 55 and above.
More than a third (37%) have found not being able to see loved ones during lockdown most frustrating, 6% found slow broadband speeds testing and 3% said the same about mobile data restrictions.
With mobile apps seeing a 23% rise in usage, SMARTY mobile reveals the changes since lockdown:
|App||UK average usage six months ago (hours per day)||UK average usage during lockdown (hours per day)||Difference increase|
While social media and meeting apps like Tik Tok and House Party have seen a surge in mobile data usage, the study found that Brits are turning to self-improvement apps during lockdown. 9% of Brits say they have downloaded Duo Lingo during lockdown, and nearly four in five (78%) with the app are using it on a daily basis. One in twelve (8%) of Brits have downloaded Headspace during lockdown, with 83% of those using the app every day. One in twelve (8%) Brits have downloaded Map my Run during lockdown whose popularity has surged in tandem with charity 5K running challenges, with nearly 28% of those using it for more than an hour a day.
While social media has encouraged the public to act selflessly, nearly a fifth (18%) of Gen Z’ers have helped their parents and elderly relatives sign-up for a mobile contract to help them stay connected. And more than one in six (16%) of those over 55 have been reconnecting with friends and family they had lost contact with.
During lockdown, nearly a quarter (22%) say they are looking to change their network to provide more data to keep them connected to the outside world. 27% have agreed they need more data for the lockdown but would like to return to their normal plan when it lifts and more than a third (35%) agree that they need flexibility to cancel their phone plan at any given time.
A spokesperson from SMARTY mobile commented: “Keeping connected is more important than ever while we observe important social distancing measures. We remain committed in helping connect people to loved ones and hope our simple, transparent and flexible mobile plans can go some way in helping them stay in touch.”
The research also revealed the cities that have used the most data in lockdown compared to normal:
- London 15GB
- Newcastle 13GB
- Birmingham 11GB
- Leeds 11GB
- Cardiff 10GB
For more information on the new plans, visit www.smarty.co.uk.
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