To get a pulse on consumer sentiment and offline behavior during the coronavirus pandemic, Comscore asked questions relating to this crisis as a part of several of our syndicated surveys.
In total, we analyzed over 10,000 U.S. consumers, weighted to match the online population. This broad cross section of consumers gives us a window into the mindset of those impacted by the pandemic. While we have seen significant increases in online consumption, and significant changes in TV viewership, this analysis is our first look into how consumers are thinking and feeling, and what types of things they are doing offline at home.
Unsurprisingly, a majority of those surveyed have been heavily impacted by the coronavirus. Only 13% of consumers said they had a mild or low impact from coronavirus, and 86% said the impact on their lives had increased since the beginning of March 2020.
One of the reasons for this level of impact is certainly the widespread nature of various shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders. Among this survey group, 90% say they are living in a city or state in which the government has issued such an order.
So what are consumers doing to help protect themselves from the virus and how are they coping with quarantine and shelter-in-place? We asked consumers two main questions: what have you done as a result of COVID-19, and what activities are you doing more of at home than you would usually?
Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of consumers said they have been social distancing, avoiding large gatherings of people, and even avoiding seeing friends/family. A majority also said they bought more food than they usually would, given the potential for lockdowns or shelter-in-place orders.
A digital metric is the sixth highest activity on the list, which is ‘shopped online instead of in-store.’ Comscore will be releasing its digital commerce results for March 2020 later this week, and it will be interesting to see just what sort of impact this type of shift to online spending had across the entire digital landscape.
Although lower in the list, it is also interesting to see that some consumers are changing their monetary habits with regard to investments and savings. In an uncertain and volatile financial market, one in five said they were putting more money into savings, and 15% said they were changing their investments in some way.
In-home activities, at a high level, tended to align very well with what we have seen in our observed behavioral data. The top-two overall activities consumers say they are doing more of at home were watching television/movies, and using their mobile devices, both of which we have seen as major trends and have analyzed in detail on our coronavirus data hub.
Other top activities were more of the offline/screenless variety. Over half say they are cooking food more often, which definitely makes sense given the closure of restaurants and the significant increases in traffic to the grocery category we have seen.
Organizing projects were another popular choice, and together with 31% saying they are doing more home improvement projects, it is clear a significant portion of consumers plan to put their time at home to productive use. These metrics also showed some interesting splits by gender. While men and women were almost exactly equal on home improvement projects (31% to 30%), significantly more women said they were doing home organization – 58% versus 39% of men.
Women were also more likely to be cooking, ordering items online, and using their mobile devices, while more men than women said they were playing video games or listening to music.
Another fascinating metric was the ‘ordering food delivery.’ Despite many restaurants updating their delivery options for contactless-delivery, and offering free delivery in many cases, only 27% of consumers say they are doing this more than usual. While there is an age component to this (33% of 18-34 versus 18% of 55+), it does underscore how precarious of a position the restaurant industry is in. There are likely consumers who are concerned that food delivery could be another possible vector for infection, and thus may be cautious about ordering more food delivery than usual.
When looking at the activities consumers are doing at home broken out by age, we also saw some very significant differences, especially in how younger consumers are spending their time during shelter-in-place as compared to those 35+. While watching TV/movies, using mobile devices, and cooking more were in the top-3/4 for every age cohort, some other activities showed much more variability.
As you can see from the table above, 18-34 year old consumers said they are doing a number of activities in significantly higher metrics than older consumers. While mobile device usage was a top activity for all ages, it was significantly more so for 18-34 year olds. More of these younger consumers are also playing video games, doing video chats, buying items online, and ordering food delivery.
As widespread shelter-in-place orders head into month two in some states, we will continue to monitor how consumers are adapting to radically changed circumstances, and how that is affecting the online ecosystem - follow our coronavirus data hub for updates.
Data for these results were sourced from Comscore syndicated surveys, including several financial services-related studies, as well as general consumer studies and studies about online spending. If you are interesting in receiving data from any of these projects linked to the COVID-19 questions above, please contact your Comscore team or go to firstname.lastname@example.org
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