According to a press release, out of all the Northern European countries, Lithuania is leading the way in the number of people who have stopped seeing their friends or visiting cafes and restaurants during the lockdown. Face to face socialising has been replaced by telephone conversations, messaging apps and video calls.
A survey commissioned by ‘Telia’ shows that once leisure activities, alongside work, have moved to the individual homes, the demand for quality content increased significantly.
Elina Dapkevičienė, Head of Product and Service Department at ‘Telia’ commented: ‘Of all the participants in the survey, the Lithuanians stand out for following the lockdown rules most obediently. The new reality has spurred on even more active use of technologies, allowing contact with family and friends, be it phone calls, messaging apps of video conversations.
According to the survey, almost half of the Lithuanians (47 per cent) have completely stopped meeting their friends face to face since the start of the lockdown. Four out of ten people have significantly reduced the number of meetings and only one in ten participants reported no change in their usual socialising habits. Estonia’s results in this area are closest to those of Lithuania, whereas in Finland one in five people are still meeting their friends as usual with Sweden’s figures showing one in four residents.
Lithuania also topped the results on the number of people who have completely stopped visiting cafes and restaurants (72 per cent) during the lockdown. Similar numbers were reported in Denmark and Estonia. Meanwhile, the percentage was lower by almost half (37 per cent) in Sweden with one quarter of the Swedish respondents reporting that their visits to cafes and restaurants have not decreased at all.
Socialising Goes Virtual
Sticking to the rules of the lockdown means that the Lithuanians are swapping the face to face meetings for various digital tools. During the lockdown, four out of ten Lithuanians surveyed were telephoning their friends more frequently. The same number of people are using messaging apps and social media more often. Over 90 per cent use Facebook and its messaging service Messenger. Other popular apps used by Lithuanians include WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok.
In addition, every third Lithuanian has started using video calling apps more frequently, with 84 per cent mentioning Messenger, 34 per cent – Skype and 8 per cent – FaceTime. Interestingly, the increase in video calling has been the smallest in Lithuania, compared to other Northern European countries. Estonia, Denmark and Norway are reporting a rise of 40 per cent in the number of people utilising the video conferencing apps.
The smallest increase was in the use of messaging services (text or iMessage): one in four people in Lithuania are texting more frequently, other countries show similar or slightly lower numbers.
Changes in human consumption and behaviours during the lockdown are a good indicator of what services are most in-demand today and will be in the future. Most surprising is the fact that voice calls are going up faster than video conversations. One would expect the latter to be considered a more suitable substitution for face to face contact. But it is obvious that people prioritise convenience, so phone calls are considered sufficient to stay in touch with the loved ones,’ says E. Dapkevičienė.
Sad Rather Than Anxious
Life within four walls has prompted people to look for new modes of entertainment and they are prepared to spend more on quality content. Approximately one in ten participants of the survey have indicated that they’d subscribed to a new film and TV series streaming service during the lockdown. Signing up to new TV channels and packages has increased by 10 per cent and there is more demand for music, audiobooks and gaming platforms too. Similar tendencies can be seen in other Northern European countries with the Estonians being least likely to invest in new content.
Overall, the residents of Sweden and Finland seem to feel most anxious about the current pandemic. According to the survey, as many as 7 out of 10 respondents from these countries are seriously concerned. Lithuania shares the middle section of the results together with Denmark and Norway: anxiety has been reported by approximately half of the respondents. The Estonians seem to be least concerned: only every third person in this country confirmed they were feeling very anxious about the pandemic.
Incidentally, out of all the countries surveyed, a decrease in the quality of life was felt most acutely by the residents of Lithuania – this was reported by as much as 53 per cent of the respondents. To compare, the result in Sweden is 47 per cent, Finland and Denmark – 40 per cent, Norway and Estonia – 36 per cent.
An online survey of the residents in Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, Norway, Finland and Sweden is being conducted by NEPA Market Research during the period of 6th April – 31st May 2020 and has been commissioned by ‘Telia Company’. The results provided in this article reflect the data for the first four weeks. More than a thousand residents have been surveyed in each country (1068 in Lithuania).