The COVID-19 pandemic could be a major inflection point that changes consumer behaviors for years.
Over the past month and a half, streaming to the TV viewing has more than doubled in the U.S. — and with the current stay-at-home lifestyle, more Americans say they expect to keep watching more TV and streaming services after the coronavirus crisis is over, according to a new poll by L.A.-based E-Poll Market Research.
On the flip side, social distancing have people wary about going to movie theaters, concerts, sporting Events and theme parks — with those activities having among the highest net-negative consumer intent on E-Poll’s survey, conducted April 16-20. Only “taking a cruise” registered lower.
The top two activities Americans plan to continue after “things return to normal” are exercising outdoors and in at-home gyms, along with a pronounced lift in cooking, E-Poll’s survey found.
Close behind was “watching TV shows, movies, streamed programming”: 21% of those surveyed said they intend to do more of that, while 14% said they expect to do less (for a net consumer intent of +7%). Streaming music was also cited as an activity U.S. consumers plan to do more, with a net +6%.
The survey findings suggest the high-water mark for TV viewing could be the new baseline. According to Nielsen, streaming video viewing on TVs in the U.S. hit 654.6 billion minutes from March 23-April 19, more than twice the 301.4 billion in the comparable four-week period in 2019. For the week of April 13, Netflix — which added nearly 16 million customers in the first quarter — captured the biggest share of that viewing time (32%) followed by YouTube (20%).
Meanwhile, prior research has confirmed that people will continue to be skittish about attending large gatherings even after lockdowns are lifted. About 47% of those surveyed agreed that the idea of going to a major public event “will scare me for a long time,” per a study last month by Performance Research.
That said, research based on asking people to forecast their own expected behavior isn’t always a great indicator of what will actually happen: People often say one thing but end up doing another. It’s even more dicey given the uncertainty surrounding when quarantines will begin lifting in the U.S.
With that caveat, here’s a look at how Americans currently expect their activities to change, per the E-Poll survey.
Lifestyle Changes Post-Pandemic
When the crisis is over – will you be doing more of, the same amount, or less of the following compared to what you did before the crisis?
|Cooking for yourself/family/friends||25%||8%||17%|
|Using FaceTime, Skype, WhatsApp or other technologies to video call friends/family||19%||12%||7%|
|Watching TV shows, movies, streamed programming||21%||14%||7%|
|Listening to the radio/podcasts/smart speakers||10%||9%||2%|
|Grocery shopping online||15%||15%||0%|
|Traveling within the U.S.||15%||20%||-5%|
|Traveling outside of the U.S.||9%||18%||-9%|
|Ordering delivery or take out||13%||22%||-9%|
|Eating out/Going out to restaurants||19%||28%||-9%|
|Seeing movies in the theater||12%||23%||-11%|
|Going to music concerts/theater||10%||22%||-12%|
|Going to sporting events||8%||20%||-13%|
|Going to theme parks||8%||20%||-13%|
|Taking a cruise||3%||22%||-18%|
Source: E-Poll Market Research, April 2020 survey of 1,677 U.S. consumers 13 and older