Marketing 3 min read

Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on U.S. Social Media Usage

Erik Lucatero /

Erik Lucatero /

Consumers in the United States are staying at home than usual due to COVID-19. As a result, social media usage in the country has increased.

In a study conducted between late March and early May, Harris Poll noted a surge in social media usage. Between 46 and 51 percent of adults were using social media more since the pandemic began.

In another recent study, 51 percent of the respondents reported increased usage of specific social media platforms.

Besides providing an unexpected boost to engagement, the pandemic has also made certain features more popular on social media platforms. These include live streaming, video chat, and gaming.

But the data is not set in stone. As more people return to work or school, time spent on these social networks and the engagement is expected to change.

This raises two essential questions: which consumer behavior will persist after the pandemic? Also, how can we prepare for any unexpected shifts?

The researchers at eMarketer attempted to answer these questions in their U.S. Social Media Usage Report 2020. The report explores the social media usage patterns during the coronavirus pandemic.

Here are the primary takeaways.

How the Pandemic Will Impact Social Media Usage in 2020

Video Calls to Continue Post-Pandemic

Since the lockdowns hindered traveling, more consumers turned to video calls to maintain contact. According to eMarketer, individuals who learned to video call on platforms such as Zoom are likely to continue the behavior.

However, as standard routine returns, people are likely to become more comfortable with in-person interaction. This could reduce the time spent video chatting.

Time Spent on Mobile Messaging to Increase

The report suggests that adults in the U.S. will spend more time on mobile messaging. According to the forecast, the time spent on the activity will grow by 4 minutes in 2020, to 24 minutes per day.

While the pandemic contributes to the increase, that’s not the complete story. Recent data also show a strong engagement across several messaging services.

These include Facebook Messenger, Apple iMessage, and WhatsApp.

Consumers to Spend More Time on Social Media

According to the report, adult social network users in the United States will spend 7 minutes more per day on social networks than in 2019. However, the time spent will start to decline next year, as the pandemic wears off.

Facebook Enjoyed a Positive Growth

The eMarketer forecast suggests that time spent on Facebook increased by only 1 minute during the pandemic. Meanwhile, platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat have enjoyed a more sustained boost.

However, the pandemic has helped flatten Facebook’s 2017-2019 decline of time spend. So, while the growth may not be as significant as other platforms, it’s still considered positive.

Read More: How to use Social Media to Encourage Others and Yourself

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