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How COVID-19 is Impacting Americans in April [Latest Mobile Survey Data]

Team InMobi
12 min read
Posted on April 24, 2020

Back in March, InMobi ran a mobile survey using InMobi Pulse, InMobi’s mobile market research solution, to see how Americans across the U.S. were reacting to the COVID-19 pandemic. Of course, a lot has changed across the nation since we first conducted this survey in March. So, what does the current landscape look like today?

To find out, InMobi ran another mobile survey. This time, we directly surveyed over 1,500 adults in the U.S., asking them the same questions we asked back in March. The survey, which reached individuals in every corner of the country (see note below), ran from April 2 to the 10th and had the same representation in terms of age and gender as the last survey.

Top 5 Takeaways:

  1. Young People Are Craving Entertainment
    According to the April survey, 57% of respondents in this age range said they are spending more time using entertainment apps. And, 18% of survey respondents aged 18-25 now say they are spending more money on entertainment, a 7% increase compared to March’s results.
  2. News Fatigue is Real
    People in the U.S.aren’t watching the news as frequently as they were in March. For example, in March, 41% of parents polled said they were following the news more. In April, that percentage dropped to 30%. The total share of all survey respondents who said they are checking news apps more frequently dropped by nine percentage points between March and early April.
  3. People Are Spending More on Groceries
    In early April, 40% of survey respondents said they are spending more on groceries of late. But, only 17% of survey respondents said they are buying groceries online, even though installs of grocery delivery apps like Instacart and Shipt rose in March.
  4. Phone Calling Has Increased
    It comes as no surprise that phone calling is up as people seek to stay in touch with others while many of us shelter in place. The latest survey found that 22% of respondents say they are using their mobile devices to make more calls. A third of respondents between26 and 35 years old say that they are making more phone calls with their mobile device. In April, half of those surveyed said they’re using the internet to make calls more frequently.
  5. These Changes in Consumer Behavior Might Last For a While
    36% of respondents said COVID-19 will impact their media consumption and spending behaviors for the next two to three months. Between March and April, the biggest jump was in the share of survey respondents who said their behavior will be impacted for the next six to 12 months.

Here’s what else the survey reveals about the current state of the nation regarding COVID-19.

COVID-19's Impact on Digital Behavior: Impact on Mobile Usage

In early April, 40% of all survey respondents said they are spending more time playing gaming apps. Between March and April, there was an increase in share of respondents between the ages of 36 to 45 and people between56 and 65 that said they were playing mobile games more frequently. In April, 45% of survey respondents with kids in the house are using mobile gaming apps more frequently.

Social apps usage is especially high among younger people. In fact, 66% of survey respondents aged between 18 to 25 said they are spending more time using social apps since the coronavirus outbreak first started in the U.S. and over a third of survey respondents in this age range in April said they are using communication apps more frequently.

COVID-19's Impact on Television:

The percentage of people who report streaming more TV content across devices now has notably increased, jumping from 25% in March to 33% in early April. In fact, this month, 54% of survey respondents aged 18-25 said they are now streaming more TV. Connected TV usage is growing at a rapid clip, with many people now accessing video content through different apps and services across multiple devices, including television sets.

Around one in four people surveyed this month said they are watching more live TV. The percentage of people aged between 46 to 55 who said they are watching more live television rose significantly from 17% in March to 29% in early April.

Social Distancing Overview

Last time, only 61% of people surveyed said they were very strictly reducing contact with others. Thankfully, that figure has now shot up to 79% of survey respondents.

A major difference between then and now is with people between 36 and 45 years old. In our first survey, only 57% of respondents in this age range said they were strictly avoiding contact with others. In the latest survey, this figure grew to 82% of respondents among this group.

Overall, women are more than likely than men to be strictly avoiding others. Older respondents are slightly more likely than younger survey respondents to be practicing social distancing.

COVID-19's Impact on Work

One in five people said they were laid off or furloughed this time around, up from17% from our last survey. Women are more likely to be not working now, with a quarter of all women polled in April now saying they have been furloughed or laid off. And, 28% of survey respondents between the ages of 18 and 25 now say they are out of work.

Among those that still have jobs, over one in four are now working from home. The number of people who are required to work from home jumped from 16% to 20% this time around, with women and younger people being the most likely to be working from home right now.

Among the work-from-home crowd, 24% of survey respondents now say they are using Zoom. Last time around, it was only 13%. People across all ages and genders are using Zoom more frequently in April compared to March. Microsoft Teams also saw a significant increase in usage, albeit smaller than Zoom.

COVID-19's Impact on Consumer Behavior

Overall, among early April survey respondents, 37% said they have not increased spending. This is down from March, when 47% said they had not increased spending. Only 17% of survey respondents in April said they have not decreased spending.

According to the early April survey results, 35% said they are spending less on clothes, shoes and jewelry. Around a third said they are spending less on entertainment, and over a third have decreased spending on travel and transportation.

There are some areas where survey respondents are spending more. For instance, 18% of survey respondents aged between 18 to 25 now say they are spending more on entertainment. And, the percent of male survey respondents who said they have decreased spending on entertainment went from 36% in March down to 29% in April.

In early April, 50% of survey respondents said they are not shopping online more frequently, with people 56 years old and above being less likely than their younger peers to say this.

COVID-19's Impact on Food Buying Behavior

In early April, 40% of survey respondents said they are spending more on groceries of late. But, only 17% of survey respondents said they are buying groceries online.

Close to half of survey respondents aged 46 to 55 said they are spending more on groceries now. This may be because over a third of those in this age group have started cooking from home due to COVID-19. Overall, among all survey respondents in April, 30% said they are cooking at home more frequently now.

According to our latest survey, 27% of respondents said they have stocked up on enough groceries for a month, up from 18% in March. Last month, 32% of survey respondents said they didn’t change their grocery buying habits at all; in April, only 22% of survey respondents said the same thing.

Impact on Food Delivery:

According to our April survey, 20% of respondents said they have reduced or stopped ordering food for delivery or takeout. The percentage of survey respondents aged 18 to 24 who have decreased their delivery and takeout behavior went from 12% in March to 24% in early April.

Outlook On COVID-19 and The Future

According to the April survey results, 36% of respondents said COVID-19 will impact their behaviors for the next two to three months. Between March and April, the biggest jump was in the share of survey respondents who said their behavior will be impacted for the next six to 12 months.

The survey responses in April reflects the ever-changing nature of the pandemic. But, no matter how long we are all sheltering in place, we will definitely continue looking closely at these trends.

Interested in more COVID-19 insights? Head to www.inmobi.com/covid-19 for data and analysis on how the world is coping with the pandemic, how it’s affecting consumer behavior and how marketers are advertisers are reacting to a rapidly changing landscape.

Note: 37% of survey respondents in April were from the Southern U.S. 23% were from the Midwest, 19% were from the Western U.S. and 15% were from the Northeast. The remaining survey respondents elected not to indicate where they live.

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