Consumers Have Adopted New Habits Since the Pandemic, but Don’t Think They’re All Here to Stay

September 4, 2020

Hub Consumers Changing Habits Sept2020The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed consumers’ lives in a multitude of ways, including changes to daily habits. New data from Hub Research explores what some of these new habits look like, as well as the likelihood that consumers will continue their changed behaviors post-pandemic.

According to the study, there are a number of habits that consumers are engaging in more since COVID-19, though not all consumers who have adopted these habits think they will continue with them once the crisis has passed. The top habits picked up since the pandemic are largely unsurprising: ordering takeout from restaurants (46%); shopping online (44%); watching streaming TV (40%), and having one-on-one video chats (37%).

However, in several cases, it is these more common habits that the fewest consumers think they will continue with after the crisis. Just 1 in 8 (12%) respondents think they will continue having one-on-one video chats, with similarly low percentages thinking they will continue ordering takeout from restaurants (15%), watching streaming TV (19%) or largely shopping online (21%). Spending time outdoors, which was one of the more common habits picked up during the pandemic (37%), showed up as the most likely to also be continued after the crisis (24%).

Changes to Streaming and Video Habits

With so many consumers having spent more time streaming since the pandemic, it’s beneficial to look at how they are discovering new shows to watch. By comparing data from October 2019 and July 2020, the study finds advertising to be having more of an impact on consumers’ viewing choices since the pandemic, with the largest share (27%) having heard about the last show they watched via advertising. Relatedly, the percentage of consumers hearing about shows through previews also increased, from 9% to 15%.

By comparison, in October last year, the largest share (31%) of respondents heard about their latest show through word-of-mouth. And, this shift from word-of-mouth to advertising in consumers’ content discovery is echoed by recent research from TiVo, which saw commercials and ads strengthen their position this year as the leading way viewers discover new shows and movies.

Added to that, consumers’ general viewing habits have changed since the outbreak of COVID-19. Between February and July this year, viewing from pay-TV video-on-demand (VOD) and through transactional renting or buying increased. The percentage of consumers watching VOD from MVPD at least weekly increased from 46% to 52%, with further increases seen in those buying/renting movies (ever) from 29% to 32%, those buying/renting PPV movies weekly or more (19% to 26%) and those buying/renting PPV TV shows weekly or more (18% to 25%).

The Big 4 streaming services all saw increases in subscription penetration during this time, as well. Amazon Prime Video (38% to 44%) and Hulu (25% to 33%) both benefited from notable increases in subscriptions during the pandemic.

About the Data: July 2020 findings are based on a survey of 3,026 US consumers, ages 14-74, who watch at least 1 hour of TV per week.

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