The third instalment in our Digital Lives Decoded series examines the changing spectrum of people’s leisure-time pursuits and pastimes – supercharged by a more digitally-savvy, post-pandemic population.
Two-thirds of people socialise more online than they do in real life, but rather than this being a negative trend, more than half of our respondents feel more socially connected.
People are convincingly upbeat about mobile’s impact on their social lives, helping them stay better connected with loved ones and build virtual communities with strangers based on shared interests. People also spend much of their downtime tapping into online education or on-the-go learning apps. Close to one-third access educational apps daily, while four in ten believe the learning enabled by mobile technology has significantly improved their lives.
The standout finding from this report is around gaming. Mobile access has changed how people game and who gamers are. Thanks to the mobile, gaming has become a mass phenomenon, embedding virtual interactions and virtual worlds into daily life. This pastime is more inclusive and accessible than ever, reaching across genders and generations. The increased number of people playing games is also driven by a relatively recent phenomenon: social gaming. Close to half of those surveyed expect to spend even more time on this in the next two years.
We see that gaming is positively impacting real-life communities, reinforcing relationships and transforming how we go about daily tasks. With that growth comes higher expectations of network operators as people seek more dependable, faster networks. Consumers recognise that this comes at a premium.
The metaverse has enormous potential as a gaming platform of the future. While it is yet to capture the interests of consumers fully, people do recognise that their mobile phones have put a portal to the future in their hands as the metaverse slowly edges towards reality. The growing interest in the metaverse is creating an opportunity for telecom operators to expand beyond the traditional towards new capabilities and services – becoming not only an enabler of the technology through the provision of 5G capabilities but also a co-creator in the metaverse.
With all the new possibilities paved by the mobile, the average mobile user today literally has the world at his or her fingertips. Moving from passive users to active co-creators in virtual realities, they will become the new face of the customer that we as network operators and businesses need to understand and keep up with. We hope the third part of our study will help to shed some light on the changing face of today’s consumers as they live, work and play.
Jorgen C. Arentz Rostrup
Head of Telenor Asia