Apr 24, 2020 - Technology

Social media use spikes during pandemic

Reproduced from Nielsen; Chart: Axios Visuals

While usage of most mobile apps has remained neutral during the coronavirus pandemic, social media app usage has exploded during the lockdown, according to new data from Nielsen.

Why it matters: Prior to the pandemic, consumers and tech companies were both becoming more aware of the overuse of social media and actively trying to limit it. In a time when people can't connect with friends and family in person, companies have put these efforts on pause.

By the numbers: Prior to the pandemic, social media usage for most of January, February and early March remained relatively flat at around 20% of total mobile app usage, according to Nielsen's data.

  • But beginning in mid-March, when statewide stay-at-home orders went into effect, social media app usage began to increase significantly, and now consumes around 25% of all mobile app usage for U.S. adults.
  • Other media app usage, like video, lifestyle, and finance apps have mostly remained the same, in part because consumers are now leveraging other devices, like desktops and television screens, for more activities while home.

The bottom line: The coronavirus pandemic is deepening users' immersion in social media at a moment when society had just begun to question it.

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