Vivo study reveals average time spent on smartphones increases during lockdown

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India may have taken a step closer towards its first shot of COVID-19 vaccine, but there’s still no certainty when people can finally emerge from the almost year-long lockdown. So how do Indians spend their time hunkered down in their homes?

A recent study conducted by Vivo and Cyber Media Research (CMR) found that in 2020, an average Indian user spends one-third of their waking hours on their smartphone—or about 1800 hours in a year.

Many choose to play card games online

Titled “Smartphones and their impact on human relationships 2020,” the Vivo and CMR study surveyed 2,000 respondents in the top 8 cities in India, and found that the daily hour smartphone use per person jumped 39 percent from 4.5 hours in 2019 to nearly 7 hours in 2020.

Nipun Marya, director of brand strategy at Vivo India, said there’s a 75 percent increase in smartphone use for office work, while calls increased by 63 percent. But with a lot of time on their hands, smartphone users in India are also spending considerable time on their mobile devices to play online casino and other casual card games like andar bahar and teen patti, as well as taking up new forms of entertainment and even hobbies—the survey found that users spend time on over-the-top (OTT) media services (59 percent), video consumption (56 percent), social media (55 percent), and gaming (45 percent).

“The year 2020 was unusual—a year that nobody had imagined. Amidst the socially distant lives that the pandemic pushed us to lead, the smartphone emerged as the central nervous system for everything—be it working or learning from home or staying connected with friends and family,” Marya told The Economic Times. “However, while smartphones have given much-needed flexibility to people, its excessive use has led to addiction among users, and that, in turn, is impacting human relationships and behavior.”

India networks bear the brunt of COVID-19

As the lockdown continues due to the COVID-19 virus, more users are relying on the internet to work, keep up with the latest news and updates, check on their family and friends, or pass time via casual entertainment games or play online casino at many different tables at an operator such as 10Cric.com. The increased number of users is placing a strain on the local networks, causing some internet service providers to struggle to keep up with the demand.

Ookla CEO Doug Suttles recently explained, “It is important to note that while the internet itself should handle elevated usage, there may be impacts to speed as people continue to move their daily activities increasingly online. While the core of the internet remains stable, some ISP networks may struggle to keep up.”

At the moment, India—which has been on a digital-first trajectory—is making efforts to improve and expand 4G coverage across the country. Ookla’s Speedtest Intelligence performance metrics has noted that India has “the highest 4G availability among the largest South Asian countries during Q3 2020 with 93.7% of tested locations showing 4G available.”

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