- New study by Jin and Opinionway examines online usage behavior during the corona pandemic.
- The gap between the generations and social classes Internet usage is growing in Germany.
- In Germany, Internet use for shopping increased with an increase of 18 percent less compared to the UK (32 percent) and the USA (30 percent).
The communications agency Jin commissioned the market research company Opinionway to survey the internet use in the Covid-19 pandemic, which interviewed around 1,000 people in France, the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany. Accordingly, the digital use during the Covid 19 crisis further developed, albeit in different ways, depending on generation, country, educational level and gender. Cross-country social relationships have suffered greatly from the pandemic. The respondents only feel more closely connected to the family and people in their own households.
In addition, society seems to experience the digital change unevenly, so that Gap between generations and social classes in terms of internet use is growing. In all countries examined, news was increasingly digitally tracked and an increase in new customer registrations with online providers was observed (categories of online providers: fitness, video conference, food delivery, food delivery, streaming, social networks, news, e-books, Podcasts, online trading, audio books and dating). However, this does not speak for an increase in trust on the Internet, rather an increasing unease regarding fake news can be observed.
Internet use: impact on social relationships
The strict contact restrictions in Germany have a strong impact on interpersonal relationships. Only the ties to people in their own households and to the family were strengthened during the Corona crisis. This observation was also observed in the other countries examined.
This could be related to self-isolation in the home – alone or within the family. In comparison, regardless of demographic characteristics, 25 to 32 percent of Germans stated that relationships with friends, neighbors, the community or people in general were less well cared for. Isolation hit hardest the older generations – possibly intensified by the not infrequent lack of use of digital tools for personal communication:
- Family relationships: Since the pandemic, Germans have had closer relationships with family members (30 percent closer, seven percent less close) and people in their own households (30 percent closer, 17 percent less close).
- A question of age: An average of 25 percent of Generation Z (in this study, all 18 to 24-year-olds) versus nine percent of over 65-year-olds state that the relationship with their fellow human beings has become closer as a result of the Corona crisis.
Internet usage: The digital divide is widening
The digital divide is growing as the youngest generations and highest income groups have better access to technology and thus information. Generation Z in particular has felt more comfortable using the Internet since the outbreak of the pandemic, and hardly any change can be identified among the older generations.
This can also be seen in the number of new registrations for online services (social networks, streaming, online trading, fitness, video conferencing) and the number of activities performed on the Internet (communication, music, podcasts, gaming and more) – both decrease with increasing numbers Age. In addition, the results suggest that the way of Internet usage is income related: Germans with higher income use the Internet more and more for podcasts and communication during the pandemic, those with lower income use it more for gaming and music streaming services:
- 48 percent of generation Z overall feels more comfortable on the internet since the crisis, but only 16 percent of those over 50.
- An average of 34 percent of Generation Z versus five percent of those over 65 have had new accounts with online providers since the beginning of the crisis.
- The use of gaming (31 percent for lower incomes versus 21 percent for higher incomes) and music streaming (40 percent versus 28 percent) decrease with increasing incomes.
- The news consumption (55 percent with lower income versus 62 percent with higher income) and communication (31 percent versus 41 percent) increases with the level of income.
Growing importance of trust and security
Despite the increased use of the Internet and the increase in the number of digital platforms used and the statement that people have generally felt more comfortable using the Internet since the Covid 19 outbreak, Germans are more worried Privacy issues or fake news – at a time like this when trust in the media is important. However, concerns decrease with respondents’ rising incomes.
Around a third of Germans and half of generation Z are convinced that technology in the areas of health and education can help solve problems. These two subject areas are currently the focus of media attention and have also been discussed on social networks, where Generation Z is most often:
- The fear of fake news rises in 45 percent of Germans, decreases in eleven percent.
- Concern about personal data rises in 21 percent of respondents and decreases in 13 percent.
- 37 percent of generation Z are worried about the impact of technology on everyday life, twelve percent more than for all other age groups.
Internet usage for purchases is increasing
According to the survey, the general public appreciates the contribution of large online retailers or grocers during the corona pandemic. It can be assumed that this is related to the fact that these dealers Maintain service during the crisis could. When asked which brands or companies had a positive impact during the pandemic, Amazon, DHL, Aldi and Lidl were most frequently mentioned in Germany. The mention of Trigema is also striking. The Swabian clothing manufacturer gained a lot of popularity through the partial changeover of production to protective masks, especially among the older generation. The luxury brand LVMH and Decathlon also have two notable exceptions in France from well-known providers such as Amazon, La Poste and Carrefour.
Merve Liebelt, Vice President of the Jin Group and Managing Director of Jin Germany, The results commented: “Our study shows that on the one hand the corona crisis seems to have accelerated the digital transformation, on the other hand digital technology has also caused growing inequality and increased distrust. The Germans were comparatively reluctant to use the Internet and caught their eye as digital skeptics. For brands and companies operating in Germany in particular, building trust could therefore be one of the greater challenges in the digital world. ”(Sg)
Also read: Social media use: why it has increased in the Covid 19 pandemic