by Infegy Research Team on March 30, 2020
How Consumers Talk About Their Lives While Social Distancing
The Coronavirus has moved many people inside their homes transforming how they live, behave, interact, consume and buy.
With one-third of the global population under lockdown, this is a strange time for people that all companies and brands need to better understand.
As part of an ongoing series of content helping brands adjust to the current world, below we'll take a look at how people are living their lives. Using social listening, we researched how people are spending their time while staying at home during the coronavirus pandemic.
When analyzing what consumers say online when they talk about "Quarantine Life" or "Quarantine Day #" or using hashtags like #QuarantineLife #QuarantineAndChill #lockdown #StayHomeChallenge #SelfIsolation #quarantine #SelfQuarantine #StayHome, we found consumers were most talking about these activities:
Let’s take a look at each one in more detail.
Topic #1: Working from Home
For those working in a business where remote work is accessible, almost all of them, in one fell swoop, transitioned to working from home full-time.
People are talking all over the web about their new home office life. There’s been a 361% increase in conversation about working from home during the month of March, according to our data.
Most have adapted to their new work-life with mostly positive experiences. 74% of consumer conversations mention their life working from home positively since the outbreak’s onset:
---Sentiment From Consumers When Mentioning Working From Home---
Some of the standout positive topics people mention when working from home: great, happy, stay, team, family, hope, support and grateful.
Still, negative experiences are bound to happen during tough and uncertain times. Those who fall in the 26% negative conversations mention the virus, avoid, sick, stuck and quarantine while discussing working from home. Also noticeable are work-related negative keywords like office, online, email, and phone.
With working from home becoming the norm, consumers are mentioning the tools and services that they now rely on to communicate with their team from afar.
Take a look at the sharp rise in online mentions associated with remote work of the top teleconference meeting options-- Zoom, WebEx, Skype, Google Chat and Blue Jeans:
---Teleconference Brands Share of Voice---
Zoom, the clear favorite, has jumped in mentions during March 2020. A large part of that jump can be contributed to a couple of great things:
1. Zoom is giving K-12 schools videoconferencing tools for free to help with the new virtual teaching that is having to take place in homes around the globe.
2. Friends and families are keeping in touch via teleconferencing
During our analysis, something interesting started standing out in the data. There was a huge increase in mentions of virtual happy hours. When we took a look at the mentions of Zoom or virtual and happy hours, we found an increasing number of people giving virtual happy hours a try.
---Mentions of Zoom and Happy Hour Increase---
Topic #2: Homeschooling / Virtual Learning
Another highly rising topic? Homeschooling and virtual learning.
With schools around the world closed for the foreseeable future, parents and grandparents are taking on the task of homeschooling their kids while teachers also adapt to remote teaching from their own homes. There’s been a 132% increase in online conversations about homeschool.
We looked at the top terms, phrases and themes when online audiences mentioned homeschooling:
--- Themes While Talking about Homeschooling ---
Now that parents and guardians are taking on the task of homeschooling, they’re looking for ideas and inspiration on how best to home educate their kids.
Unlike any other topic, parents are looking the most towards Pinterest and Instagram for useful tips. Pinterest had their biggest weekend ever in March, and parents seeking out homeschooling information and ideas played a huge role in that.
When we looked at social channels distribution for the topic of Homeschooling, we found the most active conversation occurred on Instagram:
-- Distribution of Conversation by Social Channel for Homeschooling --
Topic #3 - Ordering delivery for groceries and meals
As social distancing has gone into necessary overdrive, people are looking for alternative ways to eat and gather food. Restaurant closing their indoor spaces means they’re cooking up for takeout only.
You may have seen lines out the door (and down the street) at Costco, but we found a huge influx of conversation surrounding ordering delivery for both groceries and meals. There’s been a 50% increase in people mentioning delivery services in the coronavirus era.
Consumers have multiple routes to a meal at the moment. Delivery/curbside takeout and ordering grocery delivery lead. Here’s how the conversation tracks for people opting for delivery/takeout vs. people discussing cooking and recipes:
--- Share of Voice for Food Delivery versus Cooking ---
This suggests that, while both have grown rapidly in the number of mentions in previous weeks, cooking at home leads delivery/takeout.
Meanwhile, when it comes to food delivery, consumers are expressing various themes when they talk about their experiences.
We noticed that some of the more positive themes were all high throughout the month of March. Conversations mentioning quality, intent, promotion, place, convenience and service are all up.
--- Conversation Themes when Mentioning Delivery ---
This means people are having positive reactions to their delivery experiences.
On another note, Local restaurants are being hit hard by the crisis, but consumers continue to keep them top-of-mind. Here are the top hashtags from audiences when they mention ordering delivery. As you can see, there is a large portion attributed to local restaurants:
People state words of encouragement on social media when discussing local restaurants. Some standout hashtags include #supportlocal, #supportsmallbusinesses and #eatlocal.
Here’s an example of a user found in our analysis posting about supporting a local pizza place:
Topic #4 - Crafting/Home Activities
So, what’s one to do for fun while hanging out at home all day?
People are turning to various home activities to fill the void of doing things out in public. This includes crafting and other creative activities, which have seen a 30% growth in mentions.
One such activity that has gained tons of newly found admiration: puzzles.
Here’s the rise in conversations mentioning puzzles during coronavirus times as well as the rise in joy emotion expressed towards puzzles:
--- Conversation Mentioning Puzzles and Emotion of Joy Expressed ---
Puzzles Emotion of Joy
This joyful audience member found in our analysis posted about their puzzle companion:
Unfortunately, on the other side of all this puzzle conversation is a scarcity in the amount of puzzles available to purchase.
Topic #5: Exercising
With fitness centers around the globe closed for operation, consumers are transforming their living quarters into home gyms.
Now that working out at home is part of quarantine life, consumers are talking about their new exercise routines online. There’s been a 17% increase in conversation about exercise brought about by the pandemic.
And this is another area where we see people staying positive.
Posts about exercising during the time of coronavirus by far have the highest sentiment and largest amount of joy exhibited compared to any other topic we looked at:
---Sentiment and Emotions Expressed for Exercise Conversation---
Many fitness enthusiasts are using this time to offer free access to their workouts and classes. Here’s one yoga instructor’s social distancing-friendly post:
Topic #6 - Video Games
The gaming world is ready-made for quarantine life. But the extra time at home has led consumers to discuss their gaming activities even more, amounting to a 15% increase.
Nintendo, for example, has seen the largest increase inside the gaming conversation within our audience segment who is staying at home during the pandemic.
---Gaming Console Share of Voice ---
Nintendo’s conversation volume during the time of coronavirus has risen sharply and leads its competitors Xbox and Playstation.
Some of the boost in conversation around Nintendo centers around the release of the highly anticipated game Animal Crossing.
What Brands Should Consider About Consumers’ Lives In Isolation
Everyone being cooped up indoors has changed consumers live, behave, interact, consume and buy.
Participating in social distancing is an effective way to halt the communal spread of a virus. But it also makes for a strange existence that everyone is coping with in different ways. That is what has made this moment so unpredictable.
But we’re not totally in the dark. We can find out how people are adapting to Quarantine Life with social listening intelligence.
With these uncertain times, it’s crucial for companies and organizations not to assume anything about anyone and instead use data to learn and understand how people are shifting their everyday behaviors.
In our next article in our coronavirus insights series, we’ll examine how consumers express different and evolving emotions during this pandemic that will give you even more insight about how they are managing during these crazy times.
Having the tools and resources to serve customers in a helpful, ethical, efficient and respectful manner is more important than ever before.
During this time, our team at Infegy is offering 1-2 customized coronavirus insights in real-time inside our social listening platform for you to leverage. This isn’t a sales pitch. We believe this is a critical moment for all, and we want to be here to help your team do right by your customers. Just click here to let us know your questions and reserve time with our team.