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    Post-Pandemic, Americans Say They’ll Keep Streaming More TV — and Go to Movies, Concerts Less

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    The COVID-19 pandemic could be a major inflection point that changes consumer behaviors for years.

    Over the past month and a half, streaming to the TV viewing has more than doubled in the U.S. — and with the current stay-at-home lifestyle, more Americans say they expect to keep watching more TV and streaming services after the coronavirus crisis is over, according to a new poll by L.A.-based E-Poll Market Research.

    On the flip side, social distancing have people wary about going to movie theaters, concerts, sporting Events and theme parks — with those activities having among the highest net-negative consumer intent on E-Poll’s survey, conducted April 16-20. Only “taking a cruise” registered lower.

    The top two activities Americans plan to continue after “things return to normal” are exercising outdoors and in at-home gyms, along with a pronounced lift in cooking, E-Poll’s survey found.

    Close behind was “watching TV shows, movies, streamed programming”: 21% of those surveyed said they intend to do more of that, while 14% said they expect to do less (for a net consumer intent of +7%). Streaming music was also cited as an activity U.S. consumers plan to do more, with a net +6%.

    The survey findings suggest the high-water mark for TV viewing could be the new baseline. According to Nielsen, streaming video viewing on TVs in the U.S. hit 654.6 billion minutes from March 23-April 19, more than twice the 301.4 billion in the comparable four-week period in 2019. For the week of April 13, Netflix — which added nearly 16 million customers in the first quarter — captured the biggest share of that viewing time (32%) followed by YouTube (20%).

    Meanwhile, prior research has confirmed that people will continue to be skittish about attending large gatherings even after lockdowns are lifted. About 47% of those surveyed agreed that the idea of going to a major public event “will scare me for a long time,” per a study last month by Performance Research.

    That said, research based on asking people to forecast their own expected behavior isn’t always a great indicator of what will actually happen: People often say one thing but end up doing another. It’s even more dicey given the uncertainty surrounding when quarantines will begin lifting in the U.S.

    With that caveat, here’s a look at how Americans currently expect their activities to change, per the E-Poll survey.

    Lifestyle Changes Post-Pandemic
    When the crisis is over – will you be doing more of, the same amount, or less of the following compared to what you did before the crisis?

    More Less Net Difference
    Exercising 27% 7% 20%
    Cooking for yourself/family/friends 25% 8% 17%
    Using FaceTime, Skype, WhatsApp or other technologies to video call friends/family 19% 12% 7%
    Watching TV shows, movies, streamed programming 21% 14% 7%
    Streaming music 12% 6% 6%
    Listening to the radio/podcasts/smart speakers 10% 9% 2%
    Grocery shopping online 15% 15% 0%
    Traveling within the U.S. 15% 20% -5%
    Traveling outside of the U.S. 9% 18% -9%
    Ordering delivery or take out 13% 22% -9%
    Eating out/Going out to restaurants 19% 28% -9%
    Seeing movies in the theater 12% 23% -11%
    Going to music concerts/theater 10% 22% -12%
    Going to sporting events 8% 20% -13%
    Going to theme parks 8% 20% -13%
    Taking a cruise 3% 22% -18%

    Source: E-Poll Market Research, April 2020 survey of 1,677 U.S. consumers 13 and older

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