A ComScore study was conducted on in-home data usage taking March 1-17, 2019 and comparing it the same time period in 2020. The results showed a dramatic increase in data usage, an 18% increase overall. It breaks down as follow:
- Connected TV – 27 %
- Gaming console – 12%
- Smart Phone – 34%
- Smart Speaker – 30%
- Streaming Box/Stick – 24%
- Tablet – 12%
After closing the study, ComScore was curious and did a quick three-day study on the following Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday of the following week. The numbers only went up from there. This trend of internet growth is attributed to three factors: The employees being asked to work from home for their protection from COVID-19, children being homeschooled due to the closure of all schools across the nation, and those who are sheltering in place with nothing left to do but stream.
The Remote Worker
With the severity of COVID-19, there are now three types of workers. The “essential worker” who continue to go to work, those who have been released from their jobs, and those who now work from home. These employees work from their computers, tablets, and phones and require a reliable internet connection to complete the work assigned to them.
The Home Schooler
Not wanting children to get behind in their studies, schools started to roll out curriculum to students via distance learning. Parents logged into the school district website, and children were able to complete assignments online. Some of these tasks required a video to watch or photos to look at. Teachers would also ask that photos be taken of work, uploaded, and submitted to the teacher within the website platform. All this work multiplied by how many students there are out there brings demands on an already stressed worldwide network.
The Average Streamer
This brings us to why the worldwide network is stressed, the average streamer. With so many people at home with not much else to do, television is their only option. Streaming has become more popular than ever. Given that in 2019 streaming was 60% of all traffic on the internet, one can imagine what those numbers are today. (71% based on a ComScore increase of 18%) The top three biggest culprits are, as you probably already guessed: Netflix, YouTube, and Facebook. When you add Microsoft (Xbox/Skype), Apple (iTunes/Facetime), and Amazon, you get 43 % of all internet traffic.
With so much traffic flowing on the internet superhighway, it is surprising there aren’t many backups, crashes, or detours along the way. But how is this possible? How are millions of people on the same roads at the same time, and things are running smoothly, or are they?