This article is part of a series of insights that reveal the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on online consumer behaviour. To be notified when new insights or data become available, please click here.
Since our previous update, consumers across Europe have had time to re-engineer their daily routines. With fewer options to partake in outdoor events, many consumers are shifting their attention online. In the charts that follow, we look at how consumers in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK allocate their time online. Specifically, we rank and compare selected content categories (full list below) by visits during the weeks of January 13 to January 19, 2020, and March 23 to March 29, 2020. We chose the week of January 13 to January 19 because consumers across the continent have resumed their pre-holiday routines, and the effect of the virus won’t emerge for another few weeks; Italy declared a national emergency on January 31.
Visits to social media sites or apps dwarf those of other categories, a pattern that holds true in other EU5 countries. The top 5 categories before the crisis (i.e. during the week of January 13-19, 2020) remain the top 5 categories during theweek of March 23-29, 2020, and visits to all five of them increased significantly. However, the relative positions differ, with the “News/Information” category leapfrogging “Entertainment” in the rankings, due to a 63% jump in visits.
Contrary to France, the “Retail” category features among the top 5 categories in Germany, while the “Games” category does not. Similar to France, however, the top 5 categories before the crisis (i.e. during the week of January 13-19, 2020) remain the top 5 categories during theweek of March 23-29, 2020. Visits to all five categories increased significantly. However, the relative positions differ, with the “News/Information” category ranking higher, owing to a 58% jump in visits, and the “Search / Navigation” category ranking higher, owing to a 20% jump in visits.
Italy was the first country in Europe to be impacted by the virus, and, as a result, the focal point of much media coverage. Compared with the week of January 13-19, 2020, visits to the “News/Information” category surged 68% in the week of March 23-29, 2020. On the other end of the spectrum, visits to the “Retail” category increased by only 3%, resulting in the category losing a place and ranking fourth in total visits during the week of March 23-29, 2020.
As in other European countries, the “Social Media” category generates the most visits, and visits to the “News / Information” category increased the most – by 59%. Unlike other EU5 countries, however, visits to the “Retail” category went down by 18%, a considerable decrease. Interestingly, when looking at sub-category data, we saw that much of the drop could be attributed to Apparel and Sports/Outdoor sub-categories. Conversely, Books and Food/Grocery grew significantly, as some consumers adapted to their new circumstances by looking for someone new to read or ordering groceries online.
5. UNITED KINGDOM
Like France, the “Games” category features among the top 5 categories, both before the crisis (i.e. during the week of January 13-19, 2020) and during theweek of March 23-29, 2020. Visits to all of the top 5 categories have increased, resulting in all of them keeping their relative positions. Again, the increase in visits to the “News/Information” category, at 54%, dwarfs that of other categories.
* Consumer categories include: Automotive, Career Services and Development, Directories/Resources, Education, Entertainment, Family & Youth, Financial Services, Gambling, Games, Government, Health, Lifestyles, Media, News/Information, Real Estate, Retail, Search/Navigation, Social Media, Sports, Technology, Travel.
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