How is COVID-19 impacting creativity [at home]?

What we found out from users across our collection of creativity apps - Photofox, Pixaloop, Videoleap, Quickshot.

July 8, 2020

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.

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Updates from Casa Quarantina in Barcelona: . - Contrary to what the US news says, there hasn't been any relaxing of the mandatory confinement yet. In fact our lockdown got extended to May 9. Just to reiterate again, we are not allowed outside for exercise, leisure, etc. like the US and UK is, so it's getting increasing difficult to see and hear about others getting to go on hikes if you social distance, when we aren't even given the slightest opportunity to do that. . - Daily deaths are at an all time low, and there are talks of kids being allowed outside finally for exercise after over forty days of home confinement... . -The Oasis (my terrace) is finally complete with the newest arrival of my unicorn POOL! . -IG Live features will commence again this weekend with Alex in Wanderland, Pilot Maria, and next week Drew Binsky . -I've written 70k words for my book and plan on having it ready to launch by the end of lockdown . -Being stuck here with no freedom has officially made us start reconsidering living here, and if we aren't allowed outside by May 19th, there's a good chance we're going to try to move somewhere else if we're allowed to. . - My bf still loves me.....but Spain, not so much. . -Despite the bad stuff happening, I couldn't be happier to feel so much support from you guys -- from the 23 people who bought my signature map necklace over the weekend, to the numerous people who have left me positive feedback on my book preview and accidents blog post. THANK YOU SO MUCH! . -I am officially addicted to a new app I found called Design Home that lets you interior design cool houses 😂 . I think that's all! Anyone have any updates where you are? PLEASE someone tell me something good!!! 🙏💖 . . #losingit #lockdown #stayathome #casaquarantina #quedateencasa #Barcelona #barcelonacity #mylifesatravelmovie #alyssaramostravels #quarantinequeen #couplegoals

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#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.

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Never in my life have I been jealous of pigeons. Yet here I am, starring at them every day as they fly freely, wishing I was one of them so badly that I turned myself into one! 🕊🐦😂 . I even yelled at a pigeon while on my allowed-walk to the grocery store for waking around on the sidewalk when it could be flying to Stiges, or the French Riviera or something. . Anyway, these photos are obviously fake, in case you couldn’t tell by the fake birds (I always thought it was hilarious when people add them to pics and think they actually look real), but it’s been fun using my creativity to express how I’m feeling here in mandatory lockdown! . I’ve also really enjoyed doing my IG Live “Travelers Talk Lockdown” sessions, especially the positive, uplifting one we did today (can still see it for 24 hours!), and getting the editing done for Project Expat! Episode 2 will air tomorrow! . I also decided I’m not into yoga and my new workout is learning dance moves...def check out the Britney Spears choreography I learned today on my Stories to a song that expresses how I feel about corona.. “You Drive Me Crazy!!!” 😂😂😂 . Ok ok last thing...I have to admit I’m spending a lot of time on my little creative posts, so I’m probably going to do throwbacks in story-telling form soon. . Please let me know if you’d like to hear my escapades in South America first (Chile, Easter Island, Iguazu Falls, Brazil, the Amazon, Buenos Aires, Patagonia + car flip, Antarctica) ORRRRR Africa (roadtrip through SA, Namibia, Zambia, Botswana, and Malawi, + Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar, Seychelles, Mauritius, Madagascar, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia)??????? . Thank you and I hope everyone is staying safe and sane!!! 🙏💖 . . . #barcelona #pigeon #stayathome #quedateencasa #creativephotography #creativelifehappylife #quarantinelife #mylifesatravelmovie #alyssaramostravels

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#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.”

  • Emma, Los Angeles

“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.”

  • Tyrone, Seattle

“I’m creating more art for friends who are having a rough time with everything right now.”

  • Nick, New York City 

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. 

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