Social media, gaming, content – how India under lockdown stays engaged

With people confined to their homes due to the nation-wide lockdown amid the COVID-19 crisis, Consumers have taken to their mobiles as they seek entertainment, information, news and scourge for unique ways to engage themselves in times of social distancing. 

Based on platform insights from January 1 to March 23 and survey responses held between March 19 and 22, InMobi reveals that app usage has seen a tremendous spike. Books and Comic apps lead with a 200 per cent growth. Gaming app usage has gone up by as much as 110 per cent, especially games involving Strategy. This is followed by Image and Video Editing apps, which have seen a 60 per cent surge in usage. Mobile browsing app activity has also shot up by 37 per cent, while News Apps have witnessed a 30 per cent surge in usage. App traffic to Finance Apps has increased due to stock market volatility. 

News Apps 

News apps are the biggest source of information. Since February 5, there has been a gradual decrease in the usage of News apps, which suddenly spikes after March 5 as more cases are reported. News consumption peaks on March 22 in line with the Janata curfew. 

As people are forced to stay inside more and unable to freely move in public spaces, Indians are leveraging their mobile phones to de-stress and unwind with their families despite the distance. 

4 in 10 smartphone users are spending more time on communication and social media apps to check in on loved ones and stay connected virtually. 

35% of consumers are constantly looking for more information, live updates and official guidelines thereby consuming more news than ever. 

4 in 10 users are sharing funny posts, memes and other content with their friends and family. 

With all the time being spent at home, people are watching more content online. 

Consumer sentiment in times of COVID-19 

Inundated with information, Indians do not have the correct facts about COVID-19, neither do they have a positive outlook about the near future. Misinformation abounds among citizens, with 60 per cent of the respondents unsure of the origins of Coronavirus. 40 per cent think it is a biomedical experiment gone wrong or bio-war between US and China. 

Web browsing apps have risen in popularity for research. Since March 12, there has been a steep increase in the usage of Books and Comic apps. By the end of January, web browsing app usage decreased, but immediately surged after the first case is reported. 

Increased usage of browsing apps signifies that users are reaching out to smartphones first for any surfing needs. 

Amidst lockdowns and restrictions on physical movement, Indians are quickly adapting to the new reality. 70 per cent of the consumers are choosing to buy cleaning products based on their germ killing ability than based on price. 70 per cent of the consumers have reduced or completely stopped eating out or ordering food at home. Cooking at home is on the rise. Meanwhile, 11 per cent of the consumers have started ordering groceries online despite the long wait times. 

Simultaneously, expenses in the following have been reduced, including:

  • Public activities like movies and parties
  • Travel
  • Inter-city commute
  • Luxury items like accessories

As a result, supermarkets and grocery stores even in Tier 2 markets have seen a sudden surge in traffic as people begin to start stocking up on essentials, even as restaurants in metro cities see a steep decline.


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