The COVID-19 pandemic forced everyone to quickly adapt their personal and professional lives to a virtual environment via a host of apps. Even as lockdowns have lifted and social distancing requirements ease, a new study shows most people across the globe are still spending between 4 and 5 hours a day on various apps—and often for longer periods of time than even at the height of the pandemic.
According to the analytics firm, data.ai, almost every one of the dozen countries surveyed in its latest overview is maintaining a dramatic increase in app usage since the pandemic’s onset. In Australia, for example, people spent an average of 3.6 hours per day on apps at the beginning of 2020, a number that has since increased 40 percent to around 4.9 hours today. Likewise, Singapore saw a similar percentage rise for its population—from 4.1 to 5.7 hours each day. Those rates have tapered somewhat in the United States, but we’re still averaging a solid 4.1 hours over here versus the 3.9 hours clocked in 2020.
The few countries currently experiencing a slight decrease in app addiction don’t appear to indicate a huge shift for post-quarantine living, however. As TechCrunch notes, these nations, such as Japan, South Korea, Mexico, and Canada, are still equal or above their averages before the pandemic’s onset, adding further evidence of the ongoing app-ification of everyday life.
It’s unsurprising to see such a steady rise in both app utilization and screen time. The COVID-19 pandemic forced a massive shift in the way society both operates and works, and in many instances, people seem to enjoy (or at least tolerate) that seachange. It will be interesting to see if these numbers continue to steadily rise, or if the growth largely slows down over the coming months. A rough average of between 4 and 5 app hours per day is a hefty amount of screen time already, even without taking the additional time most spend on social media, news sites, and streaming services.
There are copious amounts of studies and information on the negative effects of too much time in front of computer and phone screens. Still, with Indonesia and Singapore both nearing the 6 hour threshold, it’s not hard to envision even more time spent in-app. Some companies may already be taking notice—Twitter recently made a potential window into just how much energy and effort we’re putting into these spaces.