Alright, let us begin by accepting the fact that till a vaccine for the Coronavirus is available, digital platforms will be the primary means of communication for any occasion. The world has reached a point where people must avoid blowing out the birthday candles on a cake at a small socially distanced party. Somewhere in between, video calling becoming the new normal began to rise among non-English speaking users on the internet, making digital unite people across the globe.

In a report by Google & KANTAR, a sample of 300 Indians shed light on the changes in digital habits and the impact of the virus on them. Following

1. From national to regional, pride is everywhere!
The combination of the internet and a smartphone has become the window to the world. And what more?
With more and more non-English users adding up on the internet, the definition of the world started change, making it feel much closer to home. This has brought in a new sense of accomplishment that non-English speaking internet users are no less than their English speaking internet users.

2. Move aside English, it is mother tongue time!
Speaking in your mother tongue is as authentic as it can be and the earlier stigma of ‘speaking in a native tongue is embarrassing’ has been shattered. Speaking in one’s mother tongue is the new normal form of expression that identifies with a region and cultural cache. What is fascinating is that the digital age has exposed them to the world.

3. Women are no longer a digital minority!
According to ComScore, there is a 35% increase of women on digital platforms in India since the COVID-19 lockdown phase started. The desire to be independent and autonomous has catapulted them to adopt digital platforms, which in turn has helped them break boundaries and express more freely.

4. Me, us, and the community.
The mere definition of a person on the internet begins closer to their home and digital has played excellent role in helping people find a balance between individualism and collectivism. People see a lot of value in the sense of belonging to a community, representing it. A simple example would be the social media challenge of ‘Wearing culture with pride’ representing their culture to the world.

5. Learning was, is and will be the key!
During the entire lockdown period, there was a surge in ‘learning from home’ searches. With the given situation, people are using the time to upskill themselves. Their pursuit of searching for a rich inner life has found new avenues on digital media. E-learning is on its way to becoming more adaptable across different age groups in the coming months.

6. Entertainment for me, by me, is my escape.
During the lockdown phase, people turned to the category of searching the ‘best’ for their entertainment. The phrase ‘best Telugu movies 2020’ saw a 450%+ surge on Google. In terms of ‘entertainment’, YouTube is still the most preferred platform and then the list of OTT platforms follows. Whatever the reason to choose ‘internet’ over TV for entertainment, the move of Flipkart to start video streaming services is evident enough of the fact that Indians have an insatiable appetite for entertainment.

7. Nothing less than 100% authentic.
With heightened senses, people are looking at authenticity and accountability rather than content. To improve these factors, content creators are moving towards ‘true stories’ or ‘inspired by true events’ area. The objective of creating content that is more relatable is greater than the objective of frequency.

This newfound awareness of ‘digital’ is increasing digital literacy among all Indians of different socio-economic backgrounds. With this, the consumption behaviour will also change and will skew towards non-English speaking users whereas the national content strategies will need to be adapted to regional content strategies.

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