Posted: 22 December 2020

A record breaking year: A glimpse into Britain’s 2020 online habits

  • Internet usage up 50% year-on-year
  • The Yorkshire towns of Halifax and Hull show the highest increase in internet usage
  • The highest ever data usage peak of 7.63Tb/s was recorded on 16th December driven by a combination of football on Amazon Prime and the season release for Call of Duty
  • Data reveals the highest year-on-year increase came from the over 75s

Tuesday 22nd December 2020: As Brits prepare to close the door and wave goodbye to an ‘unprecedented’ year, an analysis of internet data offers a glimpse into Britain’s online habits.

On average, household internet usage increased by 50% year-on-year as lockdown accelerated the importance of home connectivity across all aspects of life, TalkTalk data reveals. Homes became offices, gyms, and classrooms and Zoom became a destination to stay connected with friends and family. Lockdown also inspired a new generation of silver surfers. Data reveals that the over 75s internet usage rose by 52% year-on-year – the steepest rise across all generations.

 A regional analysis of the UK’s broadband usage found that it was in fact towns outside of the capital that saw the biggest increase in data consumption. Residents of the West Yorkshire town, Halifax, saw a record-breaking year-on-year increase of 58%. The neighbouring East Yorkshire town, Hull, closely follows with 55% increase. Stockport, Leicester and Leeds also make it in the top 10.

 These large increases are usually caused by two things: uploads, used when making video calls or online gaming, and downloads via online streaming services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime.

 The highest ever data usage peak of 7.63Tb/s was recorded on the 16th December 2020. According to connectivity provider, TalkTalk, the traffic was largely driven by a combination of football on Amazon Prime and the season release for Call of Duty. The peak equates to an incredible 636.4 hours of HD video per second.

 Other peaks include: 

  • 6th December 2020: 7.23Tb/s driven by a combination of video streaming, with many consumers tuning in to watch the Liverpool Vs. Wolves Premier League match and watching films on various services
  • 15th December 2020: 7.16Tb/s driven by a combination of football on Amazon Prime and updates for Fortnite and Call of Duty Black Ops
  • 17th December 2020: 7.12Tb/s driven by football on Amazon Prime
  • 14th November 2020: 6.94Tb/s driven by a combination of console updates and international rugby
  • 10th November 2020: 6.85Tb/s driven by the Xbox One launch and Call If Duty updates
  • 1st December 2020: 6.82Tb/s driven by Champions League Football  

Gary Steen, Managing Director of Technology said: “2020 has accelerated the digital-first lifestyle and the increase in usage we’ve seen this year is just the beginning. We expect additional network peaks to happen throughout the Christmas period – particularly on Boxing Day, as live football coupled with new devices being connected to the internet and larger gaming downloads driving up demand.”

 Top 10 towns and cities for rise in internet usage:

Region

YOY increase

Halifax

58%

Hull

55%

Llandudno

53%

Telford

52%

Stockport

52%

Leicester

52%

Reading

52%

Bradford

51%

Leeds

51%

Blackburn

51%