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. 

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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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