Consumers Fear Tech Outages During COVID-19 Outbreak: Pew Study

Americans have one other fear in addition to health as they hunker down at home during the coronavirus crisis: technology outages, according to Pew.

Of the individuals polled, 93% say a major internet or cell phone failure would make their daily lives more difficult, and 49% say it would make their lives much more difficult.

Yet only 27% say the internet and phone are as effective as in-person contact. And 64% feel that these technologies, while useful, will not replace face-to-face encounters.

For example, 76% have used mail or messaging services to communicate during the outbreak. That includes 80% apiece among those in the 18-29 and 30-49 age categories.

Among consumers 65 or older, 74% have used email, as have 71% in the 50-64 group.

Email has also been used by 91% of college graduates and 79% of people with some college. But only 63% of those with only a high school education or less have used it during this situation. And urban and suburban dwellers are more likely to use email than people in rural areas. 



Democrats lead Republicans slightly in email use — 78% vs. 76%. And men are more active with email than women — at 78% vs. 75%.

Email marketers might leverage this high level of engagement with email.

Overall, 70% have used search to find information on the virus and 37% have relied on social media to share findings on the subject. What’s more, 26% have utilized online conferencing or video calling services to attend a work meeting.

However, only 16% have used the internet or email to connect with a doctor.

Pew surveyed 11,537 members of its American Trends Panel.

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