The Star-Herald

The best mobile habits to keep from the pandemic

If you’ve spent more time on mobile devices since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, you’re not alone. The average time spent on phones and tablets has increased by over half an hour per day to reach 4 hours, 16 minutes — which is a 13.8 percent growth over the last year and the fastest annual increase since 2014.

We now turn to our phones in new ways. We stay connected socially and for work using Zoom calls, our kids dial-in for education, we meditate online, we go to music lessons virtually — we even pre-order our coffee and food on our phones. We’ve developed some new mobile habits that are helpful to adapt to the “new normal.”

“Since the pandemic, adults and kids have adapted how they use their devices,” said Tabatha McKay, area vice president/general manager for UScellular in New England. “Some of our new mobile usage habits give us the flexibility and time to keep the non-screen habits alive, like family dinners, playing cards, getting outside, exercising, trying new recipes, and cooking together as a family.”

UScellular suggests some of the best mobile habits you should consider keeping in a post-pandemic world:

  •       Online Groceries: Amid the pandemic, consumers looked for safer and more convenient ways to grocery shop. In fact, tens of millions of U.S. consumers became online grocery buyers for the first time, growing online grocery sales  by 54 percent in 2020. With the evolution of grocery delivery apps, like Hannaford-To-Go, a large portion of consumers are expected to continue their grocery shopping online due to convenience.
  •       Online Banking: Digital banking has long been preferred by younger consumers, but the pandemic has spurred older consumers as well to look to online banking. Banks have responded by increasing cybersecurity, enhancing the digital customer experience and supporting contactless transactions. This helps make it easier and more convenient for consumers to manage their money from their smartphones, like the iPhone 13 or Samsung Galaxy S21 5G.
  •       Contactless Payments: Contactless payments are exactly what it sounds like, a way to pay for goods or services with a simple tap of a credit card or smartphone, like Apple Wallet  or Samsung Pay , without having to swipe your card or hand it to a clerk. Contactless payments are a safe and easy way to pay for everything from a morning latte to making withdrawals from the bank.
  •       Video-Chat Nights: In the throes of the pandemic, families and friends looked for new ways to connect safely, when hanging out physically just wasn’t possible. Video chat apps like Zoom, Skype, Google Duo,  and Facebook Messenger helped bring us together, and  keeping a weekly call with family or friends is a great habit to keep us connected. This pandemic has been isolating for many and the ability to see, not just talk, with people can have a positive effect on our mood and social needs. 
  •       Telehealth Appointments: The growth of telehealth in the pandemic has been exponential and for good reasons, we don’t always need to physically go to a doctor’s office. For common colds, a cut or rash, or a check in on your diabetes, telehealth offers patients a quick and easy way to get the care they need, without the exposure to unnecessary germs and illnesses from others in the waiting room. While telehealth may not replace your annual exam or medical emergencies, consumers today feel more comfortable connecting with their care providers online. 

*        Streaming Media: With faster internet speeds today and 5G mobile networks, streaming TV and movies is in full swing. Streaming media not only can save money, upwards of $600 a year, but it also allows you to watch what you want, when you want, from anywhere. Streaming services such as Hulu Watch Party, Prime Video Watch Party, Scener for HBO, and Netflix Party allows family and friends to still enjoy movie nights together from the comfort of their own homes.

UScellular is the fourth-largest full-service wireless carrier in the United States, providing national network coverage and industry-leading innovations designed to elevate the customer experience. The Chicago-based carrier is building a stronger network with the latest 5G technology and offers a wide range of communication services that enhance consumers’ lives, increase the competitiveness of local businesses and improve the efficiency of government operations. To learn more about UScellular, visit one of its retail stores or www.uscellular.com. To get the latest news, promos and videos, connect with UScellular on Facebook.com/uscellular, Twitter.com/uscellular,  and YouTube.com/uscellularcorp.

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