100 days of lockdown: From virtual dating to digital yoga classes, this is how Brits’ internet usage has changed | #tinder | #pof

It’s been 100 days since UK prime minister Boris Johnson declared the country in lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. And boy, have things changed since then.

Digital services and platforms have taken over our lives, from Zoom pub quizzes to keeping in touch with colleagues via Slack and online yoga classes instead of being in a fancy studio.

As part of the lockdown, EE and BT have been analysing the new digital habits collected by the British public over this period. Around 2,000 adults aged 16+ were quizzed about their new digital ways of living and the results might surprise you.

For one, phone calls are now back on the agenda. In March, there was a 90 per cent increase in calls lasting over five minutes compared to February’s figures, whilst 55 per cent of have been relying on this as the best way to keep in contact, followed by texting (50 per cent) and virtual meetings (44 per cent).

Given the lack of being able to spend time with anyone outside your household, it’s perhaps no wonder that online dating has been kicked up a notch over the past few months. Around one in ten 16-24 year olds have reported trying virtual dating, but the biggest spike in dating app usage occurred in June when apps such as Tinder, Bumble, Match, Hinge and Grindr saw over 70 per cent users compared to March. Maybe everyone is prepping for their IRL dates come July 4?

Another important part of internet usage over the past few months has been education. One in six people have said they have found new ways to learn online during the lockdown and BT has been a part of this: it has provided over 40,000 business owners and employees with digital skills training via its Work Ready programme.

In terms of apps, the list may be unsurprising to you. People have flocked to the likes of Zoom, TikTok and fitness apps since March 21, with 68 per cent of respondents saying they have used tech to workout. The Couch to 5K app has had a particularly successful few months: more than 858,000 people have downloaded the app between March and June, a 92 per cent increase from the same period last year.

Zoom is one of the most popular apps following lockdown (Chris Montgomery / Unsplash)

What will the next 100 days look like in the digital space? According to BT’s research, four in 10 agree they have discovered new digital skills, such as accessing mobile banking and online GP services, that they plan to keep using once the UK fully emerges from lockdown. Other digital aspects will inform how we function in-person, around 89 per cent of people said they’re in favour of shops employing virtual booking systems for physical shopping as we get back to visiting the high street.

Speaking about the research, BT’s consumer CEO Marc Allera said: “The past 100 days have completely changed how we live and interact with each other. We’ve all had to adapt how we go about our daily lives, from the ways we learn, work, shop, keep active to how we connect with each other. Technology has been key to navigating this new world and as a nation we’ve been embracing its potential with over a third of us developing new skills.

“From keeping connected to staying educated and entertained, I’m proud that we’ve served the nation.”

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