The Comscore 2020 Digital Media Highlights in India report is out, and it highlights important aspects of how and where digital consumption in India changed during the lockdown and the unlock period.
It reveals the extent and main areas where digital adoption and use were spurred after the pandemic-enforced lockdown hit travel and outdoor activities or presence– all, with a reminder of the COVID19 timeline.
Among other things, the report says 2020 put online streaming at the centre of Entertainment (with YouTube Mobile App, MX Player and Disney+Hotstar reconfirming their leadership in the Video streaming space); that it was Online News that kept people informed during and after the lockdown; there was a greater dependency on sites / apps in Kids’ category increased as schools shut down; Remote working and rise of collaboration tools went up, and more.
The numbers under each area plus the overall numbers of Unique Visitors across mediums makes this an important reckoner for marketers using the Digital space to connect with their customers.
Indications of the new normal:
Amongst indications of the new normal, the report includes an inclination towards remote working wherever practical, which is indicated by continued engagement with Business Continuity tools; as evident by the surging time spent on Education and Kids categories, both, Entertainment and Education for kids are embracing the digital, and going by entertainment rankings, both Audio and Video streaming continued to gain traction much after the lockdown was lifted.
So, here are the key insights from Comscore, the trusted partner for planning, transacting, and evaluating media across platforms worldwide. It first looks at the extent to which travel and outdoor activities were hit, which immediately spurred adoption of the digital space.
The lockdown’s impact on outdoor activities
THE TRAVEL CATEGORY
Engagement with the travel category came to a halt during the lockdown with a 90% decline in total minutes in April 2020. But later the category gradually revived towards the end of the year. As the lockdown was lifted, local and domestic travel resumed, car hailing apps, airlines, and hotels started seeing a revival.
With 4.6 billion total minutes in Nov 2020, the travel category is about 66% of its pre-COVID levels in terms of engagement.
ENGAGEMENT WITH NAVIGATION APPS DECLINED AS WELL DURING THE LOCKDOWN
Maps / GPS / Traffic category that includes apps like Google maps and the like, saw about 80% decline in engagement between Jan 2020 and April 2020. The category started showing signs of revival the moment that the lockdown was eased.
With 3 billion minutes spent in Nov 2020, the navigation category is at close to 70% of its pre-COVID levels from Jan 2020.
THE HIT TO SPORTS CATEGORY, AND ITS EVENTUAL STRONG REVIVAL DUE TO IPL 2020
One of the categories that was deeply impacted bythe lockdown was the Sports category, due to cancellation of sports events led to a sharp decline in engagement as well as reach.
Between Jan and May 2020, the time spent on sports sites and apps declined by 87%. The engagement zoomed with IPL (this link is to a mediabrief.com report)in September 2020 and continued to peak until Oct 2020. With 4 billion total minutes in Nov 2020, the engagement with the Sports category is back to pre-COVID levels from Jan 2020.
How the lockdown spurred embracing of digital
Use the same sequence as a headline. Use graphs. Take the summary bullet points and more.
REMOTE WORKING AND RISE OF COLLABORATION TOOL
Engagement with Business Continuity Tools spiked during the lockdown, their usage continued even after the lockdown was lifted.
With many organizations rethinking office spaces and remote working becoming the new normal, this space should be interesting to watch in 2021.
Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Slack and GotoMeeting’s average minutes per visitor in a month increased significantly.
DEPENDENCY ON SITES/APPS IN THE KIDS’ CATEGORY INCREASED AS SCHOOLS SHUT DOWN
Reach for sites/apps in the Kids Category increased by 50% between Jan 2020 and Nov 2020. At 2 billion total minutes in Nov 2020, engagement with the category is 36% higher than pre-COVID levels from Jan 2020.
EDUCATION WENT ONLINE
Engagement with online education fueled by the lockdown continued to grow throughout the year with occasional dips. Byjus saw as much as 291% increase in total minutes spent on its site and app combined between Jan 2020 and Nov 2020
With 7 billion total minutes in Nov 2020, engagement in the Education category is 47% higher than pre-COVID levels from Jan 2020.
ONLINE NEWS KEPT PEOPLE INFORMED DURING AND AFTER LOCKDOWN
Between Jan 2020 and April 2020, the time spent on online News increased by 33% in India. The worldwide average during the same period was 23%.
With 68 billion minutes spent on News sites and apps in Nov 2020 in India, the engagement seems to be normalizing to pre-COVID levels but is still 7% higher.
2020 PUT ONLINE STREAMING AT THE CENTER OF ENTERTAINMENT
Top entertainment entities are audio or video streaming players
|Top Multi-platform Entities||UVs (000)|
|YouTube (Mobile App)||351,326|
|Star India (Hotstar.com)||122,857|
|Google Play Music (Mobile App)||64,974|
|JioTV (Mobile App)||59,784|
|The Times of India – Etimes||40,637|
High engagement with Entertainment Category continues long after the lockdown is lifted.
ONLINE RETAIL BECAME THE NEW NORMAL
The total minutes spent on retail sites plummeted during the lockdown. It sharply revived once the lockdown was relaxed to reach higher than pre-COVID levels.
In Oct 2020, with 97 billion minutes, the retail category peaked in terms of engagement. It was 43% higher than the pre-COVID levels from Jan 2020. The engagement shows normalization in November 2020 but is well above pre-COVID levels.