The coronavirus has shifted Americans' internet usage, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported, with a 25 percent increase within a few days in March after the pandemic forced people to mostly stay inside.
In April, WSJ reported, the average internet use was 402.8 GB, a 26 percent increase from January this year.
The analysis from WSJ found that the internet usage is likely to remain higher than it was pre-pandemic.
The increase comes from the stay-at-home order issued in March, which saw numerous avenues of life, including school and work, shifting to online-only to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19. Other things like entertainment, including both video streaming and gaming, saw increases in usage as people needed to entertain themselves.
All of it has seen broadband providers working to enhance the networks so as to diminish the chances of hiccups or outages. Quarterly broadband subscriptions and revenue have both increased, with financial aid from the government boosting that, along with people pursuing costlier, speedier internet packages for their pandemic lifestyles, WSJ reported.
Internet usage did fall slightly by May when the stay-at-home orders were lifted, the weather heated up and classes ended, according to WSJ, although the numbers were still significantly higher than they had been before the pandemic.
According to experts quoted by WSJ, the work done to expand capacity made it so there were few internet crashes during the pandemic, and, in fact, a lot of bandwidth left over.
PYMNTS reported that the digital shift has been noticeable and permanent for at least a portion of users, with 22 percent saying they'd likely do many things online rather than go back to doing them offline as they had before. Younger people, like millennials or Generation Z, are likelier to take that route.
Shopping for retail has been more popular of an activity to do online, with more people shifting that way as opposed to buying groceries or ordering from restaurants, which saw less of an increase.