How Have Digital Consumption Habits Shifted During The COVID-19 Pandemic?

Everyone is operating in a new era of “normal.” With almost every aspect of our lives disrupted, we’ve seen trends emerging and people adjusting their activities during COVID-19. While we have seen search trends evolve across all industries, we’ve also seen major changes in media consumption among consumers. The three media consumption changes we’ll talk through today are online spending, streaming behaviors, and social media.

eCommerce Spending

Online shopping is an experience that was already on the rise, but is now becoming an experience necessary for many in their daily routines. With stay-at-home orders in effect across the nation, many are limiting the number of times they step outside of their home to shop and move their shopping behaviors online.

  • 64.6% of U.S. internet users are more likely to purchase cosmetics and personal care products digitally.
  • 61.5% of U.S. internet users are more likely to purchase food and beverage products digitally.
  • 60% of U.S. internet users are more likely to purchase household products digitally.

Key Takeaway: People are being forced to purchase from brands digitally.

Learn more from eMarketer on Digital Buying Trends in the US.

Online Streaming

What to stream? What to stream? What to stream? Many people ask their TV that question daily during COVID-19. According to Nielson, staying home can lead to an almost 60% increase in the amount of content people watch.

  • 46% increase in connected device usage.
  • 59% increase in game console usage.
  • 53% of Americans watching more shows and films on streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, etc.).
  • 80% watching more video-based content (broadcast TV, online videos, etc.).

Specifically, Hulu is seeing more binge-viewing occurring, as sessions grew over 30% last week vs the beginning of March and a 54 percent increase in time watching news versus the beginning of March 2020.

Key Takeaway: With so many Americans spending more time working remotely, the usage of connected devices is increasing and will continue to increase. Advertisers are looking to shift budget from OOH (out-of-home) spending to OTT (over-the-top) on connected TV placements to ensure their placements shift in tandem with streaming trends.

Learn more from Hulu Insights Article on Streaming TV

Social Media Behavior

Social media is being used by many around the world to stay connected with family and friends, keep up with news, and try to beat boredom.

Facebook reported that much of the traffic increases they have been experiencing are on their messaging service and an increase in more people using the newsfeed and stories to connect with family and friends. Messaging has increased over 50 percent over the last month with video calling on Messenger and WhatsApp following a similar trend.

Across all demographics, 25 percent of U.S internet users are reportedly getting their news from social media, while 47 percent of respondents are turning to online news for information about Coronavirus.

People are trying to combat boredom with new activities. YouTube and Tik Tok are seeing larger adoption rates, specifically. eMarketer published an article answering the question, “what are users doing more during the pandemic”. The activities range from more time taking in various content (news, books, music, television/movies), spending quality time with their household, and spending increased time becoming ”creators”.

  • 42% of respondents are spending more time socializing virtually as a family/household.
  • 42% of respondents are spending more time watching streaming services.
  • 32% of respondents are spending longer on social media.
  • Not a high percentage, however, 6% of respondents are spending time channeling their inner ‘creative’ by developing videos for YouTube and TikTok.

Takeaway: The longer the time spent in isolation at home, the more people looked to social media websites to generate digital connections to supplement the physical. As people spend more time on social media, brands need to ensure not to stay silent.

Make sure people know the latest about how your organization is operating and use this time to focus on quality content creation to engage your audience.