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Hungarians embrace digitalization, social media as a result of pandemic

In half a year, the proportion of Hungarian internet users who believe that digitalization has a positive impact on our daily lives has grown from 54% to 71 %, after a massive increase in employees working from home and a rise in daily social media use, according to a survey by internet research and consulting company eNET.

The company conducted an online survey in April 2020 involving 1,049 people above 18 years of age, and found that the traditional forms of contacts have become more limited and attention has turned towards digitalization even more in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic.

The research argues that there are multiple reasons behind the increase in the number of people embracing digitalization, such as communication, recreation, and orientation opportunities. One of the main platforms used for such activities is social media.

Today, 99% of Hungarian internet users use some form of social media applications. The daily use stood at a relatively high 79% last October, climbing to 87% in six months.

Some 5.4 million Hungarians are Facebook users, while YouTube is the second most popular platform with 5.1 million users. Facebook Messenger is the third most popular with 4.9 million users. Platforms such as Viber (2.9 million users), Instagram (2.1 million), and Skype (2 million) are somewhat less popular.

According to the survey, the importance of social media has increased also as a means to keep in touch with family members during the coronavirus pandemic. 

About half of the Hungarian internet users have daily contact with family members (who do not live with them), while approximately one third communicate with them several times a day.

In April 2020, some 72% of respondents thought that digital solutions contribute to keeping the family together, up from 66% in May 2019.

More than a third of internet users working remotely

According to the survey, three-quarters of Hungarian employees who use the internet are affected in some way by the coronavirus epidemic, with more than a third of them working remotely.

A quarter of employees say their workload has increased because of the epidemic, while a fifth says that their workload is now lower. About 7% of respondents have lost their job, while 6% are unable to do their work, according to eNET.

For teleworkers, the most popular forms of communication among colleagues are e-mail (83%) and phone (69%), but many employees communicate with each other through social media (43%). The newest teamwork tools (Teams, Slack) are used by approximately 41%.

The research reveals that about half of the remote workers have never worked in home office before. About 57% of those working from home during the pandemic have already faced the need to deal with private affairs while working. A quarter of them had to work overtime as a consequence.

Approximately four out of 10 teleworkers were contacted for work in their spare time and a similar number of people worked overtime because it was harder for them to stop working on time in the home office.

However, other problems have also surfaced recently. A third of respondents had a hard time communicating with co-workers, while a quarter found that they did not feel like working at home, which lowered their performance.

Importance of digitalization to grow in the future

Despite problems brought about by the coronavirus outbreak, internet users in Hungary view the development of digitization as a positive effect and most of them say that this impact will be felt even after the epidemic is over.

At least eight out of 10 internet users say that the importance of digital communication will increase and more and more people will use digital devices because of the coronavirus. The development of digital education and teleworking opportunities were also assessed as an advantage of the new situation, the research says.

More than half of the surveyed said that they have learned several things about digital communication during the coronavirus pandemic that they did not know before.