A new survey from Snap Inc. reveals how people in Saudi Arabia are staying informed about the COVID-19 outbreak, and what they are doing to stay in touch with family and friends during this time.
On the whole, four in five (80%) Snapchatters in the Kingdom feel better prepared to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 than they did a month ago. At the same time, people do appear mindful of avoiding misinformation about COVID-19. The Snapchat user survey shows that the Saudi public is turning to official government sources (67%) for information on the outbreak, more so than TV news (26%) or general online news sources (30%).
In addition to keeping well informed, many Snapchatters appear to be using the time spent at home for personal growth. Nearly half (49%) say they are looking after themselves through self-care activities, one in three (36 %) are working on their physical fitness, and 33% say they are using this time to learn a new skill.
Moreover, people are finding ways to maintain their mental wellbeing even with the disruption of COVID-19. When asked what is helping them the most to keep calm during this time, nearly half (44%) cite staying connected with family and friends, while 40% say playing video games and 23% say meditating or working out. The importance of relationships is so valued that, when asked about any positive outcomes of the current situation, the most common response is spending quality time with family and friends.
That sentiment also carries over to Snapchat itself. Nearly half (46%) of local Snapchatters are now using the app more than before to stay in touch with family and friends. That rise is more than double the number who say they are now using video chat more (18%) or texting more (18%).
Abdulla Alhammadi, MENA Business Lead, Snap Inc., Middle East, noted: “With the outbreak of COVID-19 and the major shift it has imposed on our daily lifestyle, people in Saudi Arabia are spending more time to connect with their close friends, families, and loved ones. Shedding light on how the community is facing the current situation has helped us to provide people with creative ways and tools to interact with their family members or co-workers in a fun and engaging way, while ensuring they have access to credible, fact-based information about coronavirus.”
In recent weeks, Snapchat has rolled out new features and content to help communities in Saudi Arabia deal with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Today the company is working with the most trusted news organizations in the region and the World Health Organization (WHO) to publish regular updates about COVID-19, to answer community questions, and to curate stories around subjects such as working from home, staying fit, and so on. Using the power of the mobile camera, a string of new Lenses - including augmented reality lenses launched in partnership with the United Nations Foundation’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund in support of the World Health Organization (WHO). Bitmoji stickers, and other creative tools also leverage augmented reality to help people spread awareness in the fastest and most engaging way possible.