The coronavirus pandemic is likely to be the defining event of our newly minted decade. Never before have people across the globe been isolated en masse. The impact, from global economies to household budgets, is as pervasive as it is disruptive.
Household units are contained together, while in-person social networks are kept physically apart. Students are being educated from home, and large swaths of the business economy have migrated from corporate to home offices. Time spent commuting has disappeared. The game? It isn’t on. That concert? Not happening. Dinner with friends or drinks after work? A hard no. The rhythms of life have been indefinitely interrupted. Yet although this viral plague demands that we be physically distant, we are able to remain digitally connected.
We know our online activities are evolving. People are spending 60% more time with music and other forms of remotely accessed entertainment. The barriers between home life and work life are blurring. Slightly over one-third of the U.S. population is now working from home, a rate that is roughly double what it was before the pandemic.
Consumers with children under the age of 18 (43% of the population) are spending 24/7 with those children, educating and entertaining them — and trying to assuage their anxieties. For their own relief, consumers are leaning into entertainment and music for solace and distraction. Almost one-quarter of the population has added new subscription services, and 79% of that group reports that they intend to keep those services now that they’ve experienced them.
We anticipate that some of the behaviors we’re seeing will be durable, whereas others will be more transient. But we can’t know which are which if we don’t measure. We can’t learn about attitudes if we don’t ask and keep on asking — and at regular intervals. By looking at things over time, we can identify trends and spot leading indicators.
Billboard and Nielsen Music (an MRC Data service) have teamed up to monitor consumer behavior and attitudes. The results are fascinating, and we anticipate the trends we discover over time will be even more so. Below are some of the highlights from the first study fielded.
Venues are shuttered and live events have been canceled. How are consumers feeling right now? Are they willing to pay for a livestream of a concert from home? What do they want to see artists or brands doing? Which subscription services will they be willing to pay for? Which subscriptions are they canceling, and why do we think this is so? How are consumers feeling and thinking about life after quarantine? What are their comfort levels with crowds? The answers to these questions and more can be found in the full report.