UK online: How did our customers’ broadband habits change throughout 2020?

Friday 26th February: Data usage has soared in the last year - throughout the ups and downs of the various lockdown restrictions across the UK – and continues to rise.

As we approach the one-year anniversary since the first UK-wide lockdown, we’ve explored the trends and habits of our customers during 2020.

Our second edition of Internet Insights offers a glimpse into Britain’s broadband habits.










Internet usage rose 40% between 1st Jan and 31st December 2020, and we saw our highest ever network peak on 16th December. This was a result of Amazon Prime football streaming and gaming updates ahead of Christmas.

The number of devices in the home also increased throughout the year - we started 2020 with an average of 12 connected but this rose to 13 by the end of the year. This could be down to the increase in home-working and home-schooling, plus the new gaming consoles which were released at the end of the year.

Surprisingly, during March and April 2020, PCs and laptops overtook mobiles as the most commonly ‘new’ connected device for the first time. In another blast from the past, there were 45% more printers connected in houses at the end of the year vs the start, a sign that customers were trying to replicate elements of their office at home.

And interestingly, the two biggest rising age groups in terms of data usage in the second half of the year were 65-74 and the over 75s. It would be easy to conclude from recent experience that homeworkers saw the biggest rise. In fact, it was older people pivoting to TV streaming and video calls.  

The breakdown:

  • 40% rise in data usage between Jan 1st and Dec 31st
  • Scotland (45%) saw the highest regional increase in 2020
  • Usage among 75 and overs increased by 24% June-December 2020, the biggest of any age demographic
  • 9pm is the busiest time for network data usage across the UKbut we have more devices connected at 7pm
  • Netflix data usage on our network 43% higher NYD 2021 than 2020
  • Uploads on Xmas day 2020 were 60% higher than same day 2019
  • 8% more gadgets, and 43% more printers were connected over the course of 2020

To read the full report, see: INTERNET INSIGHTS