Customer Experience

New study shows consumers’ online and in-person plans as the U.S. heads back to business

Originally published on Forbes.

As many parts of the U.S. loosen their COVID-19 restrictions, many businesses are heading into the Explore phase, the first of three phases of recovery that I’ve previously defined. To understand the consumer mindset entering into this new phase, we asked 10,000 U.S. consumers a number of questions about their attitudes and activities.

Health concerns and trusted information sources

We wanted to understand how consumers feel about their personal health risk and where they turn for information. As you can see in the two charts below:

  • Consumers are worried. About two-thirds of consumers are at least somewhat worried about contracting the coronavirus. Interestingly, the most concerned are between the ages of 25 and 44.
  • Governors are the most trusted. We asked about the sources that people trust to provide them with reliable COVID-19 information. Across every age group, governors, are the most trusted and broadcast news is the second most. Employers, friends, and relatives are the least trusted.

personal concerns about contracting covd-19

trusted sources for covid-19 information

New online activities during and after COVID-19

As people change their daily routines, what new online behaviors have they adopted? We asked consumers about 16 activities and found that more than 20% of consumers started using video to make calls and to participate in group discussions with friends and family since the start of COVID-19. Next on the list is virtual religious services and remote healthcare.

But what activities do they expect to continue?

  • Online banking has the most momentum. 80% of people who started to bank online say that they are at least somewhat likely to continue that activity. Next on the list are streaming shows and buying online.
  • Young consumers are the least likely to change. We examined the dynamic by age group, looking at the percentage of consumers who are likely to continue the activity (of those who began during this COVID-19 period). The youngest group of consumers only show strong momentum in one of the 16 activities. The group that seems ready for the most change are 35- to 44-year-olds, who have strong momentum across 14 activities.

new activities started during covid

plans to continue with new activities started during covid

plans to continue with new activities started during covid by age

Plans to restart in-person activities

As organizations make plans to go back to business, consumers will begin ramping up their in-person activities. But which ones are at the top of the list? We asked consumers about their likelihood to quickly start doing 17 common activities. Our analysis shows that:

  • People want to go shopping. More than 80% of consumers are at least somewhat likely to go back to the grocery store. Next on the list is shopping in a store, which is a likely activity for 70% of consumers.
  • 35- to 44-year-olds are ready to get out. We examined the dynamic by age group, looking at the percentage of consumers who are likely to quickly start the in-person activity (of those who began during this COVID-19 period). 35- to 44-year-olds show very strong momentum across four of the activities, the most of any age group. The oldest group of consumers shows the fewest activities with strong momentum, but their level of momentum is highest across any age group for three of those in-person activities.

plans for returning to in-person activities after covid subsides

post-covid in-person activity momentum by age


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Bruce Temkin // Head of the Qualtrics XM Institute

Bruce Temkin leads the Qualtrics XM Institute and is widely viewed as an experience management (XM) visionary. He has helped executives across many of the world’s leading brands dramatically improve business results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. Given his work in establishing the discipline of CX, Bruce is often referred to as the “Godfather of Customer Experience.” He co-founded and was the initial chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association. Prior to joining Qualtrics, Bruce ran Temkin Group, a renowned research and advisory firm, and was a VP at Forrester Research, where he led many parts of the research organization, including CX, eBusiness, financial services, and B2B. He was the most-read analyst at Forrester for 13 consecutive quarters.

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