Humans are inherently creative – and social – creatures. We love to express ourselves, push boundaries, and spark interactions. But when we’re hit by a sudden and dramatic change in our lifestyles, what happens? Lightricks surveyed our users across the USA and Europe, analyzing app usage rates in different countries around the world. The results have valuable insights into how users of our photo and video editing apps responded to the crisis caused by COVID-19 – how it’s impacting their creativity and connections with others, accelerating trends in the visual creativity space, and highlighting people’s appetite for powerful, easily-accessible creative tools that empowered them to express the world through their eyes.
So, what did we find out?
#1 Apps that Offer an Escape
Rather than curbing people’s desires to harness their creative energy and pursue different forms of self-expression, the various lockdown measures put in place around the world actually increased it. We saw some the biggest surges in app downloads, usage, and sharing of visual content from countries initially hardest hit by the virus and lockdowns went into effect. Then, as shelter-in-place orders extended across the US, we saw Americans spend over 90% more time using apps to create and edit images, videos and visual content during the peak lockdown period, between March and April.
The spikes in Europe in the UK, France, Italy and Spain were even more pronounced, with Spaniards spending 228% more time creating and editing visual content in apps in April compared to March; the French spent 152% more time doing so, and Italians and British were at 122% and 117%, respectively.
We also saw video creation and sharing trends skyrocket, even indoors. Throughout March and April, people were creating, editing and sharing significantly more videos when compared to earlier in the year.
Instead of shutting down and switching off, people were adapting and not just consuming content passively. They turned to their mobile devices to create and share amazing content - for enjoyment and for a diversion, for fulfillment, and to connect with and support others. Among Americans and some of the most populous European countries, there was also an average increase over 90% in the amount of images and visual content shared with friends, family and social media followers during the peak period people were staying home.
And the amount of video content shared rose by nearly 300% in Spain, over 160% in places like Italy, France and the UK, and more than 120% in the US as people hunkered down at home. This shows that accessible technology and creative tools aren’t just about entertainment – they can give people a voice, help them cope, and remain positive and hopeful in dark times.
#2 Creating Content that Inspires
While being stuck indoors is limiting in lots of ways, it’s clear that many people are simply adapting their creativity to suit the circumstances. Some are using their time at home to develop their talents or find new ones. They’re reaching for content that’s more colorful, emotive, uplifting and fun. Users are taking advantage of creativity apps to make friends and loved ones laugh and smile, find new members of online communities, and let peers know that they’re not alone.
#3 Coping with Anxiety through Creativity
Everyone is responding to the COVID-19 crisis in different ways. While some are turning to creative apps to pass the time or to reduce boredom, others have reached unprecedented levels of emotional and physical stress due to the global pandemic. Creating eye-catching and engaging photos and videos has played a part in reducing their anxiety. Over 70% of people Lightricks surveyed said that using a creativity app helped them overcome anxiety. More than 90% responded that they used creativity apps to deal with boredom. Underlying this is a fundamental human need for community: to share, talk, and connect with each other. Using a digital space to be creative is crucial for people to maintain their social networks, support others, relive their memories, and do good while maintaining a healthy mental state of mind.
“I’m putting more creative twists on indoor subjects that I’d normally overlook, and it somehow relaxes me.”
“I get more in depth in creating because I'm not interrupted or distracted; it’s the most positive thing about being stuck at home.”
“I’m creating more art for friends who are having a rough time with everything right now.”
COVID-19 is showing us that when times get tough, humans are creative, responsive and incredibly adaptable. When one creative outlet is shut down, they’ll soon find new ways of cultivating their creativity and expressing themselves. Phones and tablets, and accessible tools like apps that allow content creation with photos and videos, ensure anyone can be creative, expressive, and spread messages that have an impact - even in a crisis. While expressing your creativity can be a great escape, we know that the ongoing climate can leave some feeling less than creative, which is also completely understandable. We're here for you as you need us, and look forward to following Lightricks users on their creative journeys and how they’re staying inspired and inspiring others.