coronavirus lifestyle survey

COVID-19 Lifestyle Tracker: Toilet Paper & Movies

Two months into the Coronavirus Pandemic, the Lifestyle Survey points to sheltering-in becoming routine, continued nervousness about TP, and lots of movies.

Editor’s Note:  In our continuing efforts to decipher customer behavior during this crisis, this installment of Coronavirus Lifestyle Tracker shows a “settling-in”, if you will.  Some of the early panic seems to have subsided as we get a better handle on how to navigate this new, if not temporary, normal.  For context,  you can see previous installments of this survey here and here.

Two Months Into Coronavirus Pandemic, Lifestyle Survey Shows Sheltering-In Becomes Routine

  • The Bad News – Less Toilet Paper,
  • The Good News – More TV and Movies

Two months into the COVID-19  pandemic, consumers have settled into daily routines, except for watching and streaming movies, which is up significantly, according to a third wave of research tracking 1,000 consumers during the pandemic.

The ongoing study, conducted  by Brand Keys, the New York-based brand loyalty and customer engagement research consultancy, TheCustomer the weekly insight newsletter, and Suzy, an on-demand research software platform, examines how the pandemic, social-distancing, and sheltering-in is affecting 18, conventional day-to-day activities.

What Routine Looks Like Today

“Of the 18 activities we tracked,” noted Mike Giambattista, publisher of TheCustomer, “We’ve seen surprising increases and decreases in consumer participation. But in this third wave, the curve flattened without significant changes in increased consumer participation – except for watching and streaming movies and TV, which was up from 15% to 21%.”


Covid 19 Lifestyle Changes Tracker

Numbers in parentheses represent the wave 2/wave 3 increases consumers felt they were “much more” engaged with since sheltering-in.

  • Working from home (31/30%)
  • Online activities (excluding shopping) (27/26%)
  • Watching/Streaming tv/movies (15/21%)
  • Watching news shows ((19/18%)
  • Shopping Online (20/21%)
  • Texting (15/15%)
  • Eating (15/15%)
  • Personal Care (11/12%)
  • Making personal phone calls (12/13%)
  • Managing daily tasks (9/10%)
  • Reading (13/11%)
  • Snacking (15/14%)
  • Sleeping (+12%)
  • Exercising (11/11%)
  • Sexual intimacy (11/9%)
  • Drinking alcohol (6/7%)
  • Social (Distant) Interactions (6/8%)
  • Shopping (brick-and-mortar) (5/6%)

More TV and Movies = More Happiness

“While the pandemic has shaken lives to their cores, people, ultimately, settle into routines, noted Robert Passikoff, Brand Keys founder and president, “Routines give one a sense of safety, something we desperately need . But routines, unfortunately, don’t impart ‘happiness,’ something else we could use right now. Happiness comes from  perpetually seeking ‘more.’ In this case ‘more’ turns out to be more TV shows and  more movies.”

Media sources have reported that the time Americans spend streaming has increased significantly Y-O-Y, with estimates that the average, sheltering-in consumer is streaming 8.5 hours of content per day as a way of finding some “happiness” during obligatory social isolation. “And with schools closed in many localities, “ said Passikoff, “TV and streaming has become a technique some parents have fallen back on.”

How Much More?

As of March 29th, here’s what was available on just three of the streaming services:

  • Amazon: 18,405 movies, 1,981 TV shows
  • Netflix: 4,563 movies, 2,445 TV shows
  • Hulu: 2,500 movies, 1,650 TV shows

“Those numbers don’t account for multi-seasons and multi-episodes included with those TV shows,” noted Giambattista. “Or what’s available on traditional broadcast TV, augmented availabilities like CBS Access, or subscription services like Disney+, Apple tv or HBO.”

And there’s more to come. April will bring an additional 476 new shows:

  • Netflix: 114
  • Hulu: 97
  • Disney+: 95
  • Amazon: 87
  • Starz: 50
  • Apple 26
  • HBO: 4
  • Showtime: 3

How Brands Need To Prepare

“We might have expected that housebound Americans would watch more TV and stream more videos,” noted Passikoff. “But along with an increase in viewing and streaming there’s an enormous opportunity for brands to reach a literally captive audience. It’s critical that brands measure how they should position themselves, what they should be communicating, and how that actually looks in the context of the current pandemic.

Companies are dealing with multiple issues; the economy, their workforces, the pandemic, supply chains. “But they still have to be responsive to consumers and their brand expectations, and particularly to their loyalty proclivities,” said Passikoff. Brands will be judged for how they behave right now. They can’t afford to appear tone deaf to their customers situation and expectations. “Not every brand will find a natural, coronavirus-relevant positioning but if one wants to bolster loyalty, doing nothing isn’t the answer. Especially when so many people are watching.”


The survey and analysis were conducted the week of April 20, 2020. This week’s Wave Two findings are based on 1,000 total responses from a U.S. panel population, ages 17-73 with a 50/50 gender split. The survey is being conducted on a weekly basis.

About Brand Keys

Brand Keys specializes in customer loyalty and engagement research, providing brand equity metrics that accurately predict future, in-market consumer behavior that correlates with sales and profitability.

About Suzy

Suzy helps you make better, faster, more data-driven decisions. Their platform combines advanced research tools with the highest quality audience to deliver trusted insights in minutes.

About TheCustomer

Launched in mid-2019, TheCustomer covers all of the disciplines within the customer engagement ecosystem, exploring the latest research, technologies and personalities driving the customer revolution.

See previous installments of Coronavirus Lifestyle Survey here and here.

Photo by Julia Stepper on Unsplash.

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