The Smartphone Pandemic: Facts & Phone Usage Statstics


The Smartphone Pandemic : Phone Usage Facts & Stats

COVID-19 has brought the world to its knees and this pandemic has affected the world economy in a huge way.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, people have been instructed to stay at home to battle against this virus. Though this period is considered to be very depressing, there has also been a silver lining.

Due to the advancement of the digital era and the usage of smartphones, most of us still could work and entertain ourselves using these smartphones.

Since people were at home during this pandemic, this has resulted in an immense rise in the usage of smartphones for various purposes. Students started using smartphones more due to online classes.

Similarly, corporate and working class has also increased the usage of these smartphones as meetings and conferences were held virtually.

During this lockdown phase, a tremendous rise in the download of many meeting apps, games, video streaming platforms has been witnessed.

Due to these smartphones and apps, our self-isolation was not that boring as it seems to be. 

Smartphone Usage Ramps Up During Covid-19

Smartphones have become an indispensable part of people’s life. This magical device is a constant source of information & entertainment for people. The usage of smartphones had reached new heights during the lockdown period. Being stuck at home and nothing to do, smartphones has helped to kill the boredom in people’s life.

In this section we will explore:

  • Average time spent on smartphone. 
  • Percentage of time spent in metro & non-metro cities.
  • Rise of Mobile Usage.
Impact of Covid 19 on smartphone usage

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Smartphone Usage  During Covid-19

Since people were stuck at home during this lockdown, it has been observed that the average smartphone

usage across all age groups had increased drastically.

  • During 16th March, the average daily time spent on smartphones was 3 hours and 22 mins.
  • From 11 April to 2nd May, we saw an increased daily smartphone usage which resulted in 3hrs and 54 mins.
  • During 19th September, the average smartphone usage dropped down to 3 hours and 29 mins.

From here, we can observe that the average time spent on smartphones was at peak between the outbreak of the pandemic till 19th September. 

During the August period, male and female sex groups showed a decline of smartphone usage resulting in -3% for males and -5% for females. When comparing age wise on August 15th, age groups of 15-24 years, 25-34 years and 35-44 years, there was a decline of smartphone usage by -7%, -6% and -7% respectively

We can also map difference in the readings on the time spent on mobile phones among the metro and non-metro cities. On 15th August, both these groups saw a decrease in the average time spent on smartphones. Metro cities saw a decrease of -3% while non-metro cities saw a decline of -5% over the time spent on smartphones. 

During pre and post lockdown stages as well, there have been fluctuations in the time spent over these smartphones.


  • During March, the average time spent on smartphones was increased by 24%. 
  • From mid-April to May, the time spent on smartphones was increased by 16%.
  • In mid-August, it increased by 8% only.

Most Downloaded Apps in India

Apps play a significant role in every sphere of life. Whether it’s about communication, education, shopping, cooking, or banking; apps simplify tasks and help to perform them with ease. Several apps helped people to cope up with the lockdown and saw massive growth in its usage.

In this section we will explore:

  • Most downloaded games during and post lock-down
  • The rise in the usage of various categories of apps.
  • Covid-19 impact on online shopping & food industry.
Most Downloaded Apps in India

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During the lockdown phase, it was observed that few apps got a huge number of downloads and quite a well recognition as well. For example:

  • Zoom recorded a download rate of 14.5 million
  • TikTok recorded 14.1 million downloads 
  • Aarogya Setu recorded 13.4 million downloads 
  • Ludo King recorded 9.5 million downloads 
  • UVideo recorded 8.6 million downloads 

Even in post lockdown phase, the download of many apps saw an increment at an alarming rate.


  • Snack Video users saw 50 million downloads 
  • Facebook saw 24.7 million downloads 
  • Moj recorded 31.6 million downloads 
  • 24.6 million downloads for Roposo
  • 6.5 million downloads for Instagram
  • 28.6 million downloads for Google Meet 
  • MX TakaTak recorded 45 million downloads

During this lockdown phase, Education apps have also seen an increase of 126% in the number of users. The time spent by these users was increased by 51% as well. Video conferencing apps saw an increased 12x user base and the time spent on these platforms had increased by 6x.

Similarly, BFSI & Online Trading, Fitness and Mobile Payments apps saw an increase of 27 %, 53% and 21% users respectively.

Shopping and food delivery apps showed a remarkable decline in usage during the period of pre lockdown to lockdown. However from lockdown to unlock stages, both these segments have shown an increase in the usage by 25% for shopping apps and 98% for food delivery apps.

Impact of increased time spent on mobile usage

Obviously, there were many side effects due to the increase in the time spent on smartphones. Kids got more addicted to phones.


Due to the long usage of these phones, people reported strain in their eyes and headache issues. The long usage of these smartphones resulted in smartphone sickness and it has impacted the health of youngsters in a major way.

Due to long hours spent on smartphones, many even complained that their sleep cycle was also disturbed. It was also noted that excess use of these devices caused unwanted stress

Gaming Apps : A Companion During Times Of Isolation

Mobile gaming is no more a new term in one’s life nowadays.. Games offer fun to people and help in maintaining their mental health. Although “too much of anything is bad” thus spending too much time on games can have drastic effects on health.

In this section we will explore:

  • Most Downloaded games nationally and internationally during the lock-down
  • Most Downloaded games nationally and internationally after lock-down
Mobile Games Download hikes during covid 19

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Gaming Apps : A Companion During Times Of Isolation

PUBG had been ruling the mobile gaming sector since it was launched. But recently, we saw Ludo King overtaking PUBG in terms of number of downloads in India.

During the lockdown, this game had seen an amazing rise in the number of downloads which reached upto 48.3 million downloads. Whereas, its competitor PUBG could only secure 30.8 million downloads.  

Considering global downloads, as per May 2020 reports,

  • ASMR Slicing has seen global downloads of 36.5 million  
  • PUBG only saw 34.2 million downloads 

Post-Lockdown, in India, Among Us,  Garena Free Fire and Ludo King were still leading the race of the number of downloads. Among Us and Ludo King games had 100 Million+  of downloads and  Garena Free Fire with 500 Million+ downloads in the post lockdown phase.   


When we talk about the month August and take worldwide game download into consideration then

  • Scribble Rider secured 44.6 million downloads  
  • BrainWash secured 30 million downloads 

Impact of increased gaming among Youngsters

This lockdown period has recorded many youngsters getting addicted to playing games. This was due to the fact that there were no extra co-curricular activities which could keep the youngsters busy.

Also, for some months, exams, projects and studies were put on hold due to lockdown and this had given them more time to dedicate to gaming.

India's Festival IPL : Impact On Viewership & App Downloads

IPL has always been like a festival in India. People religiously watch this fest with great enthusiasm. Additionally, due to lockdown, as well as IPL, the popularity of the fantasy game industry saw a huge rise this year.  

In this section we will explore:

  • Most downloaded cricket apps during IPL.
  • Increase in the user-base of cricket apps due to IPL.
  • Platforms which gained a huge number of audience due to IPL.
India's Festival IPL & surge In App Downloads

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India's Festival IPL : Impact On Viewership & App Downloads

The demand for the content that caters to cricket is also considerably high and the major reason was highly anticipated IPL season. There are various applications that provide news, updates, stream live videos, and offer fantasy team selection services that are preferred by the game lovers. 

Applications such as HotStar, Cricbuzz, live Cricket HD, IPL220,, etc. have gained a lot of popularity during the September month. 

Fantasy Sports applications, in particular, have experienced close to 20% increase in download during the 3rd week of September. Post-COVID these apps received an overall of 106% boost and it can be mainly contributed to IPL matches.


The figures among male target audiences are even higher. Among the males,

  • the download rate since 19th September is estimated to be at 24%  
  • post lock-down download rate is consolidated at 93%

Video Streaming Habits Of India

With smartphones in every hand and low data charges, video streaming became popular in India. And it definitely hit a major milestone in 2020 due to sudden lock-down. People started spending more time watching online video content and their streaming habit has also developed meanwhile.

In this section we will explore:

  • Average Time spent on video streaming before, during, and after lock-down.
  • Top video news channels on smartphones.
Video Streaming Habits of Indian

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Indians Consuming More Video Content During Covid-19

The statistics related to this section is considerably higher when India is compared to other nations of the world as India is powered with an aggregate population of 1.3 billion individuals. Consequently, the need and consumption of streaming videos are also higher. 

The rate of video streaming during the lockdown has spiked as people were confined to their residential apartments and were in immediate need for entertainment.

  • Pre-Lockdown stats related to online video streaming content were estimated to have spanned for 3 hours and 34 minutes on an average. 
  • This figure has increased to a whopping 4 hours and 48 minutes during the lockdown and now in unlock phase, 
  • Now it has come down to 3 hours and 49 minutes after the upliftment of the lockdown period.

Digital Transaction Reaching New Level

India is becoming digital and this wave of digitization became much stronger during the lock-down. With digital transactions, it’s easier to achieve transparency & accountability. Whether it’s about making payments or transferring money, it can be done from anywhere in just seconds.

In this section we will explore:

  • UPI transactions in the month of March, June, July, August, and September
UPI Transactions During Covid

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Digital Transaction Reaching New Level in India

With the introduction of the easy internet for everyone, India has experienced a sudden surge in the need of online digital content. 

Moreover, with the cheap and effective services by some of the most mobile network service providers, it has become significantly easier for people of different backgrounds to view and stream online content within the nation.

Likewise the requirement to make online payment has also subsequently increased.  During the lockdown months spanning between March to August, the rate of transactions initiated only in general and UPI in particular were quite high.

  • In March 2020, a total of 1.25 billion transactions were initiated that had a total worth of 2.06 trillion. 
  • This figure had greatly increased in June with as a total amount of 2.61 trillion was recorded comprising 1.33 billion transactions. 
  • UPI transactions reached its peak in the month of August as a total of 1.62 billion transactions were recorded accumulating to 2.98 trillion.
  • In September 1.7 billion transactions worth 3.29 trillion were recorded.

The Relationship Between Lockdown and Smartphone Usage

Smartphone usage increased significantly during the lock-down phase in India. As people were confined to their homes, all the activities related to phones like playing games, video streaming, or online shopping everything showed a positive graph.

In this section we will explore:

  • Smartphone Addiction.
  • Negative Impact on Younger Target Audience Section.
  • Negative Impact on Health Created by Overutilization of Mobile Phones.
  • Digital Revolution in India due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
  • Final Thoughts: Impact of Increased Mobile Phone Usage.

The Relationship Between Lockdown and Smartphone Usage

Smartphone Addiction

Smartphones have become one of the most essential devices for mankind nowadays. It plays a vital role in every individual's life and Internet can be considered as fourth basic need.

However, there are restrictions and limitations in every aspect. The reliance we have on smartphones has consumed our lives.

Though there are innumerable advantages of technology and smartphones, it has also significantly contributed in creating an unhealthy and unproductive lifestyle for many people.

People are facing issues in various spheres of life be it sedentary lifestyle or unhealthy personal relationships. The general expectation of the people now is completely reliant on the aspect of convenience. We want everything to be done with a click of a button.

It has made people lazier as the ability to focus and achieve long term goals have become more difficult. Therefore, we all must consciously make efforts to limit the use of mobile phones so that it does not dictate our daily lives and affect us in a negative way.

Negative Impact on Younger Target Audience Section

The most defining limitation of overutilization of smartphones has been in the reduction of our attention span. We are so used to being entertained with engaging content that our overall attention span has reduced drastically.

This, in turn, has reduced our ability to concentrate at work or while studying. This is a critical issue which is presently being faced by many working professionals. The condition is worse for the younger target audiences as they struggle to focus on education.

For instance, videos uploaded on TikTok are generally 10-15 seconds long. We view the content and move on to the next video almost immediately.

Now if you ask an individual to watch an informative video that has a total longevity of 45 minutes then the concerned candidate is sure to lose interest eventually and will probably click out soon. Such also affects education as the ability to focus on academic content now seems to be uninteresting.

Negative Impact on Health Created by Overutilization of Mobile Phones

Health is another aspect that is adversely affected by an immediate increase in the use of mobile devices. As already mentioned before, extreme reliance on technology has made us lazy. We expect things to take care of themselves on their own without having to work hard for them and thus less physical activities. 

The digital world has trapped us in a spell that is very difficult to come out of because of ease of access. Coupled with the western influence of fast-food, we now live and exist in an unhealthy environment. Negative impact of mobile phones on health include:

  • Issues related to weight gain and obesity, weak eyesight have now become increasingly common in India.  
  • Overutilization of mobile phones also disturbs our natural body posture making us hunch and cause long-term spinal issues. 
  • The radiation released from mobile phones also increases our overall body temperature. 
  • Not to forget, the negative effects mobile phones have on our eyes. 

Therefore, it is essential that we limit the use and consumption of mobile phones.

Digital Revolution in India due to the outbreak of COVID-19

The outbreak of COVID-19 has crippled many industries. However, the digital landscape has experienced a sudden resurgence as it provides a solution to the limitation with regards to communication we all are currently experiencing.

Operating on digital platforms is comparatively easy as it helps us to save a lot of time in the long run. 

The country has experienced an immediate rise in online transactions, as people now believe in the aspect of contactless payment. Likewise, the establishment of global lockdown had people all around the country in a state of house arrest. 

To overcome monotony, people from different segments of society found solace in watching and consuming online digital content. This has significantly increased the demand for online video streaming platforms. 

Therefore, it can be safely claimed that India has experienced a digital revolution with the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.

Final Thoughts: Impact of Increased Mobile Phone Usage

With the observations made above, we can safely conclude that people all around the world in general and in India, in particular, should use mobile phones judiciously. Overutilization of mobile phones will not only hamper you physically but will also affect the psychology of an individual. 

It is a detrimental device when left unchecked in the hands of young ones in particular as it disrupts the ability of the concerned youngster to focus, in turn, negatively affecting academic performances. 

The digital industry is growing at a rapid pace and offers limitless opportunities to people around the country. However, we should always ensure that our lives solely do not revolve around the usage of mobile devices. 

To eliminate issues related to insomnia, stress, and depression be sure to use your mobile devices only to a certain extent. The same should be applied by adults and working professionals as well to curb the negative impacts of mobile phone usage.

Sources & References

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About The  Author

Editor-in-Chief : Ishant Sharma

Ishant is a part-time freelance editor, content manager and a full-time operation manager at a reputed academic service provider. Having an experience of 8 years in the publishing/ e-solution industry, he manages a small team of fellow editors and has worked with several publishing giants like Wiley, Elsevier and EBSCO. He is a stickler for accuracy and loves to read noir-fiction and binge-watch anthologies.