Have you developed a sudden interest in baking, DIY or reading? You’re not alone. According to a recent article released by Google, there have been some interesting shifts in search behaviour as we all go looking for ways to pass the time without leaving the house. As well as new distractions, many people are also in search of socially distanced versions of their usual pastimes like pub trivia, exercise and bingo.
It’s not surprising that trying to stave off boredom is a big motivator in Google searches, with terms like ‘things to do when bored’ taking the place of the previously popular ‘things to do this weekend.’ The phrase ‘near me’ is also becoming increasingly popular as people search for services that are open in the local area, rather than heading out further afield as they might have done before.
Google’s findings are supported by research from Kinsey, who have identified a number of changes in consumer behaviour since the pandemic, including a move to digital services over in-person ones. It looks like these changes are here to stay, at least for the immediate future. 70% of the Kinsey survey respondents said they didn’t feel comfortable resuming normal out of home activities, even in countries that have eased government restrictions.
How people beat boredom during COVID
With limitations on travel and larger gatherings, many people have been deprived of their usual outlets and pastimes lately, so they’re getting a little creative. Streaming films at home has become a substitute for going to the cinema and going to the pub has been replaced by virtual socialising using video conferencing software and apps like Zoom. More traditional, less tech-heavy hobbies are also making a resurgence. According to the Office for National Statistics, four in 10 Britons are passing the time with relaxing pastimes like cooking, gardening and reading.
Online gambling searches at an all-time high
Thanks to the closure of physical gambling venues, bingo halls and the cancellation of sporting events, many players are moving from physical to online bingo. According to Google Trends, searches for online bingo shot up in late March and early April and while they have gone down a bit since then, they are still higher than they were before the pandemic hit.
While regular bingo players will be relieved to know there’s an alternative way they can still play without leaving the house, if you do choose to play online bingo it’s important that you do it safely and securely. The good news is that despite the searches growing the Gambling Commission is reporting that there has not been a massive surge in spending on gambling – which was a major fear at the start of the pandemic. People have been sensible. It will certainly be interesting to see if these trends are maintained once we get back to some kind of normalcy.
Social distancing doesn’t have to be boring
Whatever you choose to spend your time on, one thing is clear; it’s important to have distractions that help you connect with others during stressful times like this. Fortunately, there are plenty of options and whatever you’re interested in you’re likely to find something that will help you pass the time and stave off boredom while you stay safe and protect your loved ones.
Google.com – ” Search insights to help you understand consumers: The U.K. saw rises in ‘passport renewal’ and ‘what to eat”
McKinsey & Company.com: Consumer sentiment and behavior continue to reflect the uncertainty of the COVID-19 crisis
BBC.com: Coronavirus: Eight things that have kept us going in lockdown