Impact of COVID-19 on Virtual Life

More than three quarters of internet users (76%) reading or downloading online news
  • Use of social networks, such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, increased in March (68%) compared to January (66%)
  • Uploading self-created content (such as photos, music, videos, text to any website to be shared) increased by seven percentage points to 38% of internet users in March (31% in January)
  • Seven in every ten (70%) internet users watched YouTube-type content in March, an increase of five percentage points on the corresponding survey period in January
  • Watching video on demand (from commercial services such as Netflix, Disney+, HBO GO, Amazon Prime) was reported by 57% of internet users in March, compared to 55% in January
  • Watching internet streamed TV live or catch up (from TV broadcasters) was carried out by 55% of internet users in March, compared to 54% in January
  • Playing or downloading games was reported by 30% of internet users in March, an increase of seven percentage points on the corresponding survey period in January

Go to release: Impact of COVID-19 on Virtual Life

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has today (19 June 2020) published details on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected virtual life in the State. This release provides further insights into how we are using the internet, following on from the publication in May of the ‘Impact of COVID-19 on ICT usage by Households, January and March 2020’.

Commenting on the data, Statistician, Maureen Delamere, said:

’Irish life has changed following the introduction in March of the measures to address the COVID-19 pandemic. People were at home a lot more, with schools and many workplaces closed. This had an effect of people’s use of the internet during this time.

During this lockdown period, people were increasingly accessing news using online news channels. More than three quarters (76%) of internet users reported reading or downloading online news (including online news sites, newspapers or magazines), up two percentage points on the corresponding figure for January. Similarly, social networking increased in March – 68% compared to 66% in January, while uploading self-created content (such as photos, music, videos, text to any website to be shared) saw an increase of seven percentage points to 38% of internet users, compared to 31% in January.

With more people having to stay at home, our use of the internet for entertainment increased. Watching YouTube type content increased in March during the COVID-19 pandemic – 70% of internet users in March compared to 65% in the corresponding period in January, an increase of five percentage points. Watching video on demand (from commercial services such as Netflix, Disney+, HBO GO, Amazon Prime) increased also (57% in March compared to 55% in January), while 55% of internet users watched internet streamed TV live or catch up from TV broadcasters, compared to 54% in JanuaryPopularity of playing or downloading games increased also, three in every ten (30%) internet users saying that they carried out this internet activity in March, an increase of seven percentage points on the corresponding survey period in January.

Editor’s Note:

Usually the results of “ICT Usage by Households and Individuals” are published on an annual basis and are based on the results of a full quarter’s data. It should be noted that the analysis in this publication is based on just six weeks of data, 3 weeks in January and 3 weeks in March, following the implementation of the Government containment measures. This analysis is to produce early indicators of the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on households’ and individuals’ use of the internet during this period.