As lockdown continues and people are cooped up at home for much longer hours, they are turning to digital media for entertainment. And, the rising data consumption is a testimony to that. Each data user is consuming more than 11 GB per month, a spike of 30 per cent during COVID-19. This has taken the country's data consumption ahead by 2 to 3 years.
But, is it a one-time phenomenon or a long time trend. Well, according to a survey of 2,600 consumers the shift to digital for content consumption is here to stay, finds EY's Digital Consumer Survey: Shaping The New Normal.
As more and more people are working from home and need access to stable, high speed internet, data consumption has increased. The survey reveals, nearly 33 per cent respondents upgraded broadband plans for higher data packages. Interestingly, unlimited plans accounted for 40 per cent of total upgrades, underlining the need to access more digital services.
The users are using internet not just for work but also for entertainment. The survey shows that 90 per cent respondents are spending more time on digital activities such as content streaming, e-learning, infotainment and social media.
Nearly 61 per cent consumers are streaming more content than they were before the lockdown. Market realties corroborate with the survey findings. Time spent on video streaming has surged 1.2 times to average 4.2 hours per user per week.
On demand is in demand. Sixty-percent respondents prefer subscription-based video on demand, while 20 per cent prefer TV entertainment. Nearly 50 per cent of respondents who prefer TV, are spending more time watching movies, shows and news telecast.
In fact, as schools are closed, students across age groups are turning to digital learning. During lockdown, virtual classrooms and online education have become the saving grace for many students in helping them continuing education. According to the survey findings, e-learning has emerged as the third most-performed digital activity in the past weeks. Nearly 59 per cent respondents are learning online. The preference for learning on digital platforms is here to stay. Nearly 50 per cent respondents prefer learning on EdTech platforms over accessing learning material scattered on web portals.
Also, the spread of virus has lead several users switch to digital payments. Nearly 38 per cent respondents started using digital payments for the first time during the lockdown. Digital wallets stand strong, with 53 per cent respondents making payments through e-wallets. In fact, telecom operators strategies to monetise digital payments is structurally positive, with 12 per cent respondents leveraging self-care applications for payments.
"The access and speed to real-time engagement is driving digital adoption to the next level. The new normal is all about creating hyper-personalised and connected experiences for a digital consumer. Now is the time for business models to change and capture a larger share of customers' wallet and attention", says Prashant Singhal, Emerging Markets TMT Leader at EY. He adds that digital services industry is poised for growth, and the right accelerators will go a long way in enabling the lives of 1.3 billion Indians with a click.