It’s been a tough year with the COVID lockdowns. Deloitte has released a Digital Consumer Trends survey which highlights how Australians technology habits have changed during this period.
Deloitte surveyed 2000 Australians who were in lockdown in June and July about their use of technology and connectivity during this difficult time.
And the news is not all bad with a quarter of Australians working from home finding they enjoy their work even more as a result while 12 per cent found it even more stressful.
And 45 per cent say their quality of life has improved thanks to the flexibility of working from home and the ability to manage their day.
More than 90 per cent of Australians are also enjoying the reduced travel needs with a third gaining back almost a whole day per week (5.5 hours) which leaves more time for life admin and other recreational activities.
“Thirty-seven percent of our Australian survey respondents are now working from home – almost five times more than pre-pandemic levels,” Deloitte Consulting Partner, Kate Huggins, said.
“While over half of Australians who work from home have had an almost seamless experience from a technology perspective, it hasn’t been smooth sailing for all respondents – one in five said they lose a productive day a month due to ineffective tech. And without access to the office, technology issues can be hard to remedy.”
During lockdown our reliance on our technology and connectivity took a dramatic increase to help us do our work and to also keep us entertained.
According to the study, 26 per cent of respondents bought a new digital device as a direct result of being at home during the pandemic.
Laptops , smartphones and televisions saw the biggest spikes in one-off purchases with almost 10 per cent of respondents buying these personal or home entertainment devices.
“We may technically be in a recession, but consumers appear to be spending on the devices that help them feel connected,” said Deloitte Partner and National Telecommunication lead, Peter Corbett.
“While forced isolation and closed off borders could have created a more insular society, we’ve seen a focus on connection through the pandemic.
“We have increased our use of all screens in our search for ‘collective experiences’: using devices to connect over Zoom, through email, via networked gaming with friends and by plugging into pop culture to watch the same TV streaming shows as our friends and colleagues.
“A lasting legacy of this pandemic will be a greater awareness of the preciousness of human-to-human contact – whatever form it takes.
“This focus on connection is likely to persist, along with the technology and devices that make it possible.”
More than half of Australians say they used their smartphones more during the pandemic lockdown mainly for communication or entertainment while 35 per cent spent more time checking social networks, 31 per cent streaming films or TV series and 26 per cent watching TV programmes.
Older generations (55 years and older) have also embraced online banking with 80 per cent intending to continue once the lockdown is ended.
But technology is also being used to help us stay a step ahead of the fight against COVID-19 with contact tracing apps, QR codes and temperature cheques now an everyday reality.