Key Takeaways from ShareTracker’s March COVID-19 Research

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It’s now been over 100 days since the World Health Organization (WHO) was first alerted about the global pandemic, which has since brought the world to a halt.

Throughout this time, the telecommunications industry has been working around the clock trying to accommodate the scores of people who are now using home networks full time for work, education, and entertainment purposes. Service providers have had to deal with massive changes in daily traffic patterns and shared bandwidth consumption, and it will be weeks or even months before the industry fully adjusts.

Of course, to make the right network changes, providers need to have a clear understanding of how households are consuming resources. To help, ShareTracker has been busy collecting data and providing ongoing COVID-19 coverage.

Our most recent research came from our March Household Survey, a national, online multi-modal questionnaire. We sampled 10,000 households between March 17 and March 27, 2020.

Here are the key insights from this survey:

Work and Study from Home

We discovered more growth in households with new work at home members. Breaking that data down further, 64 percent of households added one remote worker, while 36 percent added two or more. At the same time, nearly half (49 percent) of increases in study at home involved two or more members.

Internet Changes

If there’s one thing COVID-19 hasn’t changed—at least thus far—it’s how consumers view their current internet service.

80 percent of households were considering no changes to their internet service in response to Coronavirus. This has remained consistent throughout the two-week March interview period.

Among households that are considering making a change, the most popular was upgrading for faster speed. This was especially true among fiber households.

Notice the low number of households that are considering changing, downgrading, or eliminating internet providers to reduce costs—demonstrating the massive role that the internet now has in daily life, even during difficult financial times.

Video changes

We have also been closely analyzing how households are using streaming video services in recent weeks.

During the survey window, the number of households that were not considering making any changes to their video service dropped from 67 percent (March 17-21) to 65 percent (March 22-27).

This brings up some interesting questions. Are consumers getting bored with the content on their streaming services, and are thinking of switching providers? Could it be due to financial constraints? Or, are consumers simply getting tired of binging for entertainment? To that point, we could see a sudden drop in streaming with warmer weather, and when the pandemic finally quiets. On the flip side, heavy streaming could continue well into the summer from households that are stuck inside or reluctant to resume normal activities.

Right now, it’s clear that video is still surging. Video on demand (VOD) and streaming usage increased during this period, with higher income fiber households indicating they are more likely to make a service upgrade with premium channels during the next 30 days.

Awareness of Internet/Wireless Offers

Of note is the fact that awareness of internet and wireless service offers was low during the survey period—indicating that providers may need to conduct more outreach when approaching customers about upgrades and incentives.

Right now, most consumers seem to want faster speeds, and cost savings. Internet and wireless customers are also equally unhappy about data caps.

Here is a breakdown of consumer awareness for offers, broken down by carrier:

To follow the latest developments in the telecom industry from COVID-19 follow us on LinkedInTwitter, and Facebook, or drop us an email at info@sharetracker.net. You can always visit us at ShareTracker as well.