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Our New Normal

By Caroline Dunlea,

With schools moved to online teaching, estate agents doing virtual show around, brick and mortar shops closed for the most part and 90% of our time being spent indoors, our access to the internet and our online world has never been so important to us. 

As social distancing helps us to feel safe in such uncertain times it can still make us feel isolated and vulnerable. As human beings we will always want to feel connected. What are some of the ways that being online has helped us stay connected?

Video conferencing apps have seen a surge in usage as families and friends stand together by staying apart. Applications like Houseparty, Zoom and Netflix Party are helping to maintain our close family ties. 

While businesses continue to operate with the new normal being “work from home” they are staying in touch with colleagues and clients through Zoom, Hangouts and Skype.

Our social feeds are awash with more content than ever before, keeping us entertained and providing some welcome distraction, helping us all greatly to keep our mental health in check. 

We are loving all the cooking feeds and recipes coming from our beloved hotels and restaurants up and down the country that have had to close and are staying connected through social media. Teaching and giving us top tips when it comes to home cooking and sharing some of their customers favourite dishes. There are homes across the breath of the nation cooking banana bread as we speak! 

Likewise, all the personal trainers and gyms are sharing their home workout videos online so we can burn off some of the hundreds of extra calories we are consumed with our new found love of baking and cooking.

As businesses and as people we adapt and we do it well. 

So what does this mean for our social channels? How much different did March look?

  • Instagram – usage up 45%
  • Snapchat – usage up 42%
  • Facebook – usage up 37%
  • WhatsApp – usage increasing throughout situation up 42% overall
    • Largest increase demographic 18-35 – 40% avg increase across channels
  • Facebook Messenger – up 50%
    • Include Facebook Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp combined.
  • Group Calls are up 70%
  • Stories – avg posting 6.1 per day up 15% week over week, Stories’ impressions, meaning views have also increased by 21% during that time. 

Are we using the internet differently? The below stats would indicate that our online behavior has definitely changed as well as our interests. Below are some of the increases seen in March. 

Not Surprisingly Food and Healthcare have seen significant growth online as our needs are met with grocery stores and pharmacies upping their game to deliver to the nation. 

 

We have taken a look at 2 industries in particular to see how the current situation with Covid- 19 has affected them.

Retail

Our stats from Google are telling a story that will ring true for a lot of us. As we first entered into this lockdown/”work-from-home” phase, our immediate requirements were to stock up on food and get set up to work from home. This resulted in significant increase in searches for electronic related phrases e.g. Computers increased 38% and Laptop Computers 57%.

Quickly moving to keeping busy at home and there was an increase in people searching for Home gyms and Exercise Mats. Our health and well-being has never been more important, both in safeguarding against the virus and in maintaining our general health and hygiene while indoors. This has led to an increased demand in Haircare and Skincare products as well as an increased interest in Vitamins.

 

Our new normal and our new online dependency  with the current restrictions would not be possible without the option of home delivery and Home Delivery saw a spike when looking at it over the last 90 days.

Hospitality

The Hospitality sector has been one of the industries most severely impacted by Covid-19, with hotels and restaurants across the country being forced to close their doors. It is clear from the graphs below why this is the case. 

 

Breaking down the search history by location, it is clear to see that this is a nationwide trend, with all of the main cities across the country showing similar downturn in search popularity.

So, are there any positive signs beginning to emerge from this crisis, and if so what should we be monitoring? The below graph indicates that there has been an increase in searches for country hotels. We know from studies that have been carried out that people will and do want to travel when this is over. However, they will naturally be looking for reassurances and initially the regional and destination hotels could win over the city centre hotels. People are going to be looking for distance, open spaces and less crowded places, but their desire to travel within the country will continue. As hotels we will need to look to our domestic market, be creative with our packages and dining experiences to attract our customers and rethink our marketing messaging. 

In summary, while at this point we might be sick of hearing the words “Covid-19” and “Furloughed” we have come together as a community both in business and in person to limit the damage that is being done by this virus.  We are minimizing the impact and in some cases pivoting our businesses as the needs of the people change. Pharmacies are delivering prescriptions online, there are 1.4 billion students globally being taught or teaching themselves from home. Hotels have opened their doors to healthcare workers. Retired healthcare professionals have gone back to work. People are supporting businesses by thinking local first and more restaurants are providing takeaway services to keep business going. 

We are resilient. We are innovative. We are caring. We are strong. We are Irish, and by God will we bounce back with some strength.

Fanacht go maith

Caroline Dunlea

Caroline Dunlea

About the author

Caroline is a co-founder and director of Core Optimisation where we work with our clients to deliver digital growth through a combination of Digital Marketing and Conversion Optimisation Strategies. She has a passion and energy for delivering a high level of customer service with a strong focus on results and increasing direct online revenue for our customers.