COVID-19 VPN Demand Statistics

Demand for VPN is soaring globally with the introduction of strict social restrictions intended to slow the spread of the virus. This report identifies the emerging trends in VPN demand following seismic changes to how we live and work. It will be updated regularly.
Covid-19 VPN demand stats header illustration
Simon Migliano

UPDATED 20 Apr 2020 17:20 GMT to add global VPN demand stats. All demand data is to 15 April inclusive.

Key Findings

  • Global VPN demand: Increased 41% over the second half of March and remains 22% higher than pre-pandemic levels.
  • 75 countries with significant VPN demand increases since Covid-19 social restrictions began to be enacted oustide China
  • 21 countries where VPN demand surged to more than double prior levels
  • Highest volume VPN demand: U.S. (41% peak increase), UK (35%) and France (80%)
  • Largest VPN demand increases: Egypt (224%), Slovenia (169%) and Chile (149%)
  • Largest sustained increases: Egypt (154% – over 14 days since initial peak), Peru (119% – over 28 days since peak), South Africa (105% – ongoing since mid March)

Introduction

In the weeks since the novel coronavirus took hold outside China and its closest neighbours, social restrictions have been imposed progressively around the world.

Faced with an indefinite period shut inside their homes, people are not only having to work remotely, often for the first time, but are also looking to access geo-restricted content and maximize their entertainment options.

Demand is therefore surging for Virtual Private Networks (VPN) due to their ability to provide a secure, private internet connection and unblock content.

VPN usage had been growing steadily with 31% of internet users using a VPN in the months before the coronavirus outbreak. However since then, demand for VPN services has rocketed around the world.

Online searches for VPN began to surge around the world in mid-March in the days following the World Health Organization’s (WHO) declaration of a pandemic on March 11.

Global VPN demand rose 41% over last two weeks of March compared to the first half of the month.

While overall demand would soften in April, it remains significantly elevated at 22% higher than it was before the pandemic was declared.

We’ve seen demand suddenly double in countries where lockdowns have been announced or expected.

Even in huge mature markets like the US, we have seen daily demand peak at 65% above the previous average.

To help understand this rapidly-changing landscape, we’ve analyzed our global monitoring data to show where and when these surges in demand are taking place. We are also tracking the size and durations of these spikes, along with identifying what the “new normal” looks like for each country.

In an earlier update, we added a US state-by-state breakdown of VPN demand increases.

We’ve also looked at how rising VPN demand relates to individual streaming services. We’ve analyzed service-specific VPN searches to identify where spikes in demand are developing.

While demand for VPN services continues to ramp up beyond expected levels, we will publish regular updates to this data.

Below you’ll find the following data views, click the links to jump straight to the numbers:

Top 20 Countries by Volume Increase

The following table shows the 20 countries with the greatest volume increases in average daily VPN searches, by overall search volume.

Understanding the data

  • VPN Demand Increase percentage is the difference between the average daily search volume over the peak period and the daily average for the period prior.
  • Where demand continues to peak at the time of the most recent update, this indicated by “Ongoing” in the End Date column.
  • The +7 day percentage is the difference between the average daily search volume over the seven days following the end of the peak period and the period prior to the peak, ie the baseline level of demand.
  • Where 7 full days have yet to elapse since the end of the peak, the +7-day column is left blank
  • The +14 day column is the same as +7 day but uses the daily average for days 8-14 following the end of the peak period. The +21 day and +28 day columns work in a similar manner.

Highlights

  • United States: With an increasing number of populous states, including California, New York, Illinois and Washington, subject to stay-at-home orders, VPN demand peaked at 65% above average on March 23 – the day after President Trump signed the $2 trillion stimulus package. While demand has since softened in days since then, it has remaied over a third higher than normal for the past three weeks and in the last few days demand has reintensified to be 40% greater than before the pandemic.
  • Canada: Following the release of government modelling of total pandemic deaths on April 9, VPN demand immediately jumped back to 52% above pre-pandemic levels after having dipped for two weeks.
  • Spain: One of the worst-affected nations in the world, Spain’s daily death toll started to increase again around April 8 after a week-long decline. This coincides wth a resurgence in VPN demand to 52% above pre-pandemic levels after dropping to a third of the level of the initial peak in March, perhaps as people feared an extension of lockdown.
  • Italy: The Italian people were the first in Europe to be subject to a full lockdown and VPN demand surged by 57% around that time. Since then demand has remained elevated, fluctuating between 34% and 53% above prior levels. Daily demand hit its highest levels yet between April 6-8 when it was 65% higher than it was before the pandemic. This coincided with the announcement of a major economic stimulus plan.
  • South Africa: A harshly-enforced lockdown has been extended to the end of April in the worst-affected African country. VPN demand has surged since March 16 and the average for the period since then is more than double the level prior.
  • Brazil: President Jair Bolsonaro may well be playing down the dangers of Covid-19 but Brazilians prepared for self-isolation by searching for VPN in unprecedented numbers. Demand averaged 121% higher than it was before the pandemic over the peak period in mid March. It has softened significantly since the single-day peak increase of 180% on March 23 to 39% above prior levels over the past week.
  • Australia: Despite less strict lockdowns than much of Europe and the US, VPN demand in Australia continues to grow. The average demand since mid March is now 59% higher than it was prior to that, increasing from 43% two weeks ago. The single biggest day has been April 10 when searches were up 124% compared to pre-pandemic levels, as Australians faced up to an Easter weekend at home.
  • Egypt: The introduction of social restrictions in Egypt has lagged behind other countries however demand went through the roof at over three times the level (224%) recorded in the period prior. While it started to fall away by the end of March, it remains more than double prior levels (123%). Egypt’s overall volume is lower and is therefore not among the top 20 – see the MENA table for more detail.

By Region

Asia-Pacific

The following table shows all countries in the Asia-Pacific region with significant increases in average daily search volume for VPN following the introduction of social restrictions in response to the global pandemic.

Understanding the data

  • VPN Demand Increase percentage is the difference between the average daily search volume over the peak period and the daily average for the period prior.
  • Where demand continues to peak at the time of the most recent update, this indicated by “Ongoing” in the End Date column.
  • The +7 day percentage is the difference between the average daily search volume over the seven days following the end of the peak period and the period prior to the peak, ie the baseline level of demand.
  • Where 7 full days have yet to elapse since the end of the peak, the +7-day column is left blank
  • The +14 day column is the same as +7 day but uses the daily average for days 8-14 following the end of the peak period. The +21 day and +28 day columns work in a similar manner.

Europe

The following table shows all countries in Europe with significant increases in average daily search volume for VPN following the introduction of social restrictions in response to the global pandemic.

Understanding the data

  • VPN Demand Increase percentage is the difference between the average daily search volume over the peak period and the daily average for the period prior.
  • Where demand continues to peak at the time of the most recent update, this indicated by “Ongoing” in the End Date column.
  • The +7 day percentage is the difference between the average daily search volume over the seven days following the end of the peak period and the period prior to the peak, ie the baseline level of demand.
  • Where 7 full days have yet to elapse since the end of the peak, the +7-day column is left blank
  • The +14 day column is the same as +7 day but uses the daily average for days 8-14 following the end of the peak period. The +21 day and +28 day columns work in a similar manner.

Latin America

The following table shows all countries in Latin America with significant increases in average daily search volume for VPN following the introduction of social restrictions in response to the global pandemic.

Understanding the data

  • VPN Demand Increase percentage is the difference between the average daily search volume over the peak period and the daily average for the period prior.
  • Where demand continues to peak at the time of the most recent update, this indicated by “Ongoing” in the End Date column.
  • The +7 day percentage is the difference between the average daily search volume over the seven days following the end of the peak period and the period prior to the peak, ie the baseline level of demand.
  • Where 7 full days have yet to elapse since the end of the peak, the +7-day column is left blank
  • The +14 day column is the same as +7 day but uses the daily average for days 8-14 following the end of the peak period. The +21 day and +28 day columns work in a similar manner.

Middle East & Africa

The following table shows all countries in the Middle East & African regions with significant increases in average daily search volume for VPN following the introduction of social restrictions in response to the global pandemic.

Understanding the data

  • VPN Demand Increase percentage is the difference between the average daily search volume over the peak period and the daily average for the period prior.
  • Where demand continues to peak at the time of the most recent update, this indicated by “Ongoing” in the End Date column.
  • The +7 day percentage is the difference between the average daily search volume over the seven days following the end of the peak period and the period prior to the peak, ie the baseline level of demand.
  • Where 7 full days have yet to elapse since the end of the peak, the +7-day column is left blank
  • The +14 day column is the same as +7 day but uses the daily average for days 8-14 following the end of the peak period. The +21 day and +28 day columns work in a similar manner.

North America

The following table shows all countries in the North-American region with significant increases in average daily search volume for VPN following the introduction of social restrictions in response to the global pandemic.

Understanding the data

  • VPN Demand Increase percentage is the difference between the average daily search volume over the peak period and the daily average for the period prior.
  • Where demand continues to peak at the time of the most recent update, this indicated by “Ongoing” in the End Date column.
  • The +7 day percentage is the difference between the average daily search volume over the seven days following the end of the peak period and the period prior to the peak, ie the baseline level of demand.
  • Where 7 full days have yet to elapse since the end of the peak, the +7-day column is left blank
  • The +14 day column is the same as +7 day but uses the daily average for days 8-14 following the end of the peak period. The +21 day column works in a similar manner.

By US State

The following table shows the increases in average daily search volume for each of the states in the US, along with District of Columbia, following the introduction of social restrictions in response to the global pandemic.

Understanding the data

  • VPN Demand Increase percentage is the difference between the average daily search volume over the peak period and the daily average for the period prior.
  • Where demand continues to peak at the time of the most recent update, this indicated by “Ongoing” in the End Date column.
  • The +7 day percentage is the difference between the average daily search volume over the seven days following the end of the peak period and the period prior to the peak, ie the baseline level of demand.
  • Where 7 full days have yet to elapse since the end of the peak, the +7-day column is left blank
  • The +14 day column is the same as +7 day but uses the daily average for days 8-14 following the end of the peak period. The +21 day column works in a similar manner.

Streaming VPN Demand

The following table shows the average increase in daily searches globally for VPN that relate to the leading streaming services.

Understanding the data

  • The Increase in Demand percentage is the difference between the daily average search volume from Mar 14-25 and the daily average over the two weeks prior.
  • The +7 day percentage is the difference between the average daily search volume from the Mar 25-31 and Mar 1-13, ie the baseline level of demand.
  • The +14 day percentage is the difference between Apr 1-7 and the baseline period, +21 day the difference between Apr 8-14

The second phase in Disney+ progressive global roll-out in late March came at a perfect time for families in western Europe stuck indoors with children to get access to hugely popular shows such as The Mandalorian. However, for consumers not lucky enough to live in one of those countries, a VPN is the only means of accessing the service. While demand has softened since an initial huge peak, it remains significantly elevated at almost three times the pre-pandemic level.

The relative lag in heightened demand for VPNs that work with Netflix may well be related to consumers exhausting their viewing options after a week of lockdown. Those in countries with more limited libraries would need to turn to VPNs to expand their options and unblock content available in other regions. Indeed, as the weeks of lockdown have dragged on, demand has skyrocketed.

It’s notable that all interest in VPNs that work with particular services increased as lockdown has gone on, as the reality of long social restrictions really starts to sink in around the world.

Methodology

Using our global monitoring data, we analyzed daily VPN search volume by country and identified any step changes in demand compared to previous weeks.

To calculate the increase in demand, we compared the average daily search volume during the period of elevated demand with the daily average for the seven days prior.

Where the period of elevated demand was longer than seven days, we extended the prior comparison period to match.

Our streaming service analysis is based on global VPN searches that reference specific streaming services. There was a clear step change in overall demand from March 14.

Therefore, to calculate the increase in demand, we compared the daily average volume of searches from the 14th onwards with the daily average from the start of March.

View full data for VPN demand in all countries (Google Sheet).


About Us

Top10VPN.com is a leading VPN review website. We recommend the best VPN services to help protect consumers’ privacy online. We also aim to educate the general public about digital privacy and cybersecurity risks through our free online resources and research.

For more original VPN data and research, please see our Global VPN Usage Report 2020, Global Mobile VPN Report and Free VPN Investigations.

Additional research by Christine O’Donnell