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Entertain, distract, connect: British Columbians will use more electronics to get through the COVID holiday season

VANCOUVER: BC Hydro is predicting COVID-19 combined with the holiday season will result in unprecedented electronics use.

A new survey[1] conducted on behalf of BC Hydro finds over 90 per cent of British Columbians plan to spend more time at home over the holidays because of COVID-19. Over half said they will use more electronics to help pass the time, which combined with small appliances account for about 20 per cent of the electricity consumed in a home.

In addition to using more, British Columbians are planning to spend more. Spending on electronics and appliances was already up by 10 per cent earlier this year, and that is expected to continue this December.[2]

After the gaming industry slowed in 2019, hot items like the new PlayStation 5 and Xbox One X gaming consoles will contribute to increased spending and electricity use this year.[3] In fact, about 10 per cent of adults in B.C. are looking to purchase a gaming console this holiday season.

Screen time is also forecast to be at an all-time high. About three-quarters of British Columbians indicated they will be spending more time watching TV and movies over the holiday season than they normally do. And that is why it should come as no surprise that new monitors, tablets and TVs are at the top of many people’s lists. About 10 per cent plan to purchase TVs as gifts, and over half will do most of their shopping online.

While electronics will be used to entertain and distract, they will also play a role in connecting British Columbians. Headsets with microphones and LED ring lights are popular gifts as video conferencing app Zoom continues to be the most downloaded iPhone and iPad app of the year.[4] About 60 per cent of British Columbians said they are planning a virtual celebration with family and friends this year and about half said they will be making more phone calls to connect with loved ones, which may be why about 10 per cent expect to purchase cellphones for family and friends.

To improve energy efficiency while hanging out at home this holiday season, BC Hydro recommends:

  • Stream efficiently: Streaming movies or TV shows on a device like a smart TV instead of a game console as it uses 40 per cent less electricity.
  • Look for the ENERGY STAR symbol: Laptops or desktops with this label use between 30 and 60 per cent less electricity than conventional models. ENERGY STAR rated TVs use at least 30% less.
  • Consider the monitor size: A 17-inch monitor uses 30 per cent more energy than a 15-inch monitor.
  • Monitor consumption: Track electricity use to see how holiday activities impact a household’s electricity use with the electricity tracking tools available in MyHydro.

BC Hydro Media Relations
p. 604 928 6468

[1] Online survey conducted by Majid Khoury on behalf of BC Hydro of 800 British Columbians between Nov. 16 and Nov. 19, 2020

[2] Retail Council of Canada

[3] NPD Group: Recapping Retail Performance in Canada 2019

[4] TechCrunch