Granted, there’s no substitute for behavior-based data on email response. But sometimes it pays to look at the bigger picture — for example, what consumers have been doing online during the lockdown.
Verizon’s Look Forward study, conducted by Morning Consult, shows consumers are embracing retail therapy, and splitting their shopping evenly between digital and in-store.
Of the consumers polled, 24% recently shopped mostly online, and 34% used a mix of in-person and online.
This provides email marketers with many advantages. They can, for example, track abandoned carts and react in real time via email.
But don’t get too enthusiastic — only 16% say they will be shopping mostly online a year from now. That’s a six-point increase over pre-pandemic levels, but 8% lower than the current number.
Still, Verizon has “seen the shift to digital jump ahead 5-7 years.” states Kyle Malady, chief technical officer at Verizon.
For one thing, 32% of consumers have upgraded — or considered enhancing — their home internet bandwidth and their mobile data plan, with younger consumers more likely to do so.
And shoppers are wising up to new shopping technologies. For instance, 36% have used contactless credit cards, and 33% contactless mobile payments. In addition, 38% have utilized grocery delivery services for the first time during the pandemic.
Moreover, 23% expect to be using self-checkout going forward, while 24% expect to use contactless credit cards and 22% say they will use contactless mobile payments. And almost 33% will increase their use of messaging apps, video calls and social media for communication.
Beyond shopping, the pandemic has also had an impact on other online activities. For example, 47% have subscribed to a new streaming service. And 70% admit to binge-watching of shows.
Also 67% have been spending at least three hours a week watching live TV, and 59% on streaming content. But 23% have “cut the cord” and no longer subscribe to cable and satellite, although 62% still do. Only 21% of millennials subscribe to a cable or satellite TV service.
Consumers have also been busy with online gaming — 46% have purchased or downloaded a mobile game during the pandemic, and 36% have done so with a computer or console game.
Moreover, 32% of game users have been spending more time on this pastime, while 32% have increased the hours spent talking to family and friends on video calls.
Verizon has seen many of these trends in its own networks. For instance, use of collaboration tools like video conferencing has jumped 2872% above pre-pandemic levels. Traffic across secure networks (VPN) also remains 91% higher than pre-pandemic volumes.
Overall, data usage on Verizon networks has remained steady at 31% above pre-pandemic levels -- “a clear indicator that internet consumption and the acceleration of technology adoption are major byproducts of this moment,” Malady says.
On behalf of Verizon, Morning Consult surveyed 3,000 U.S. consumers from March 12 to March 14, 2021.