COVID-19 and its impact on Digital Media Consumption in India
As India grapples with a new way of life, it is impossible to not see the impact on digital media consumption. Consumers have had to change their lifestyles significantly as social distancing, working from home, closed schools and canceled travel/events disrupt daily routines.
As part of Comscore’s ongoing investigation into the COVID-19 and its impact on the Media and Advertising industry around the world, we now spotlight trends in India. We study key areas of digital consumption that are the most impacted by this pandemic. To be notified when new insights or data become available, please click here.
Compared with the week of Feb. 10-16, 2020 visits to websites and mobile apps in the “General News” category increased by 61% in the week of March 16-22, 2020. However, most of the increase occurred recently: compared with the week of March 9-15, 2020, visits went up by 50% during the week of March 16-22, 2020.
As financial markets fluctuate with the spread of the pandemic, the reach of, and engagement with, digital content within the “Business News” category have surged. The number of unique visitors increased by 22% between the weeks of March 9-15, 2020 and March 16-22, 2020, while the increase in total visits was 34%, and total minutes increased by 27%.
Consumers have shown increased interest in content hosted on “Government” sites, whether that is the latest number of COVID-19 positive cases or the most updated guidelines to be followed. While traffic went down in February up until early March, it jumped during the week of March 16-22, 2020, as the reality of the pandemic took hold. Compared with the week of March 9-15, 2020, websites and mobile apps belonging to the public sector saw a 29% increase in reach, as measured by the number of unique visitors. Engagement, in terms of visits, increased by 39% and time spent on them increased by 27%.
As people sought information about this relatively novel illness, traffic to health-related websites increased. Between the weeks of Feb. 10-16 and Mar 16-22, 2020, visits to health information websites and mobile apps increased by 25%.
As news about the impact of the virus spread and consumers braced themselves for a possible lockdown, they also showed greater interest in healthcare retail sites. Visitation to “Healthcare Retail Sites” increased by 146% from Feb. 10-16 to March 16-22, 2020.
The disruption of sports events was reflected in a decline in reach of, and engagement with, sports websites or mobile apps. The sharpest decline occurred during the March 16-22, 2020 week: compared with March 9-15, 2020, visits to websites and mobile apps in this category declined by 76%; total minutes spent on this category declined by 87%.
Be it hotels, flights or ride sharing, the pandemic forced people to abandon their travel plans and stay at home. As a result, compared with the week of Feb. 10-16, 2020, visits to online travel agents’ websites or apps declined by 55% during the week of March 16-22, 2020.
Hotels also experienced less traffic on their sites/apps. The decline was most prominent during the month of March 2020: compared with peak traffic in the week of March 2-8, 2020, visits to hotel websites and mobile apps went down by 66% during the week of March 16-22, 2020.
Compared with the week of Feb. 10-16, 2020, visits to websites and mobile apps in the car transportation category, which includes ride hailing apps, saw a decline of 43% in March 16-22, 2020.
The airline industry in India has experienced a unique pattern of traffic over the past two months. In February, traffic to airline websites and apps declined as more and more people reconsidered traveling. Compared with the week of Feb. 10-16, 2020, the number of visits to websites and mobile apps in this category declined by 53% during the week of Feb. 24 - March 1, 2020. In March, however, the trend was partially reversed, probably due to travelers cancelling or modifying their travel plans. Compared with the week of March 2-8, the number of visits increased by 69% during the week of March 16-22; 2020.
Devoid of sports, travel and any social activities, many have turned to online games. Between the weeks of Feb. 10-16, 2020 and March 16-22; 2020, visits to online gaming websites or apps increased by 24%. Engagement, as measured by time spent on gaming sites or apps, increased by 21% during the same time period.