Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Unicode Consortium has postponed the release of new emoji characters from March 2021 to September 2021. Unicode Consortium is a non-profit organisation founded to develop, extend and promote use of the Unicode Standard and related globalisation standards to members including Apple. The organisation solicits proposals from the public and is responsible for new releases as well.
According to Unicode Consortium, it relies heavily on the efforts of volunteers for its emoji releases. However, under the current circumstances, its contributors and volunteers “have a lot on their plates at the moment”. Mark Davis, president of the Consortium said that it is in the best interests of its volunteers and the organisations that the emoji releases and standard updates have been postponed. “This year we simply can’t commit to the same schedule we’ve adhered to in the past,” he added.
However, the postponement will not affect the new emoji included in Unicode Standard version 13.0 announced on 10 March 2020. The upcoming new emoji release will include the awaited transgender flag, the gender inclusive designs, as well as popular Italian hand gesture that was announced in January 2020.
Emojis have become the new communication tool, and even used in email subjects. In July 2019, a survey done by Adobe found that over half of emoji users said they are more likely to open an email from a brand that has an emoji in the subject line. Also, nearly half (44%) said they are more likely to purchase products advertised using emojis. About 64% are willing to make a purchase with an emoji – most likely purchasing meals (19%), movie tickets, (15%) and clothing (13%).
Emojis have also become a cultural phenomenon – shaping the way ideas and emotions are expressed. In the Adobe study on 1,000 US individuals ranging from 16 to 73 years, approximately 81% of emoji users said that people who use emojis are friendlier and more approachable. Many cited the ability to communicate across language barriers (94%) and share thoughts and ideas (90%) as benefits of using emojis.
The most used emojis across brands and industries