Most Americans have used a digital service they wouldn’t have if not for the pandemic lockdowns

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Three-quarters of Americans have experienced a tech wake-up call due to COVID-19, according to new research.

The survey of 2,000 Americans revealed just how reliant they are on digital services as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Respondents were asked to reflect on the digital services they’ve used during self-isolation and how their lives have changed because of them.

In this new climate, digital services have come to the forefront of Americans’ lives, as six in 10 respondents shared they’ve expanded their horizons to use a digital service they normally would not use.

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Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Sungard Availability Services, the survey found 77 percent of respondents don’t know what they’d do on a daily basis without today’s technology.

As respondents have been sheltering in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ve naturally turned to more digital services than they would normally use.

Over half of those surveyed said they’ve used telehealth services during this time and don’t know where they would be without it.

In fact, the results showed there was a 154 percent increase in respondents’ telehealth use during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Seventy-six percent of respondents shared they’ve also utilized delivery services to get their prescriptions during the pandemic and 79 percent have used a grocery delivery service, which is an increase of 200 percent and 139 percent respectively.

Seventy percent of those surveyed said they’ve even made virtual visits to national parks, museums or zoos during their time indoors – a 261 percent increase during respondents’ time indoors.

In terms of entertainment, the use of streaming services rose 95 percent, online gaming grew by 104 percent and social media use climbed 105 percent.

Seven in 10 respondents also shared they’re likely to continue using the new digital services they’ve utilized during their self-isolation even once they can return to their normal lives.

This increased reliance on digital services during self-isolation comes with hiccups, however.

Respondents shared they’ve experienced an average of six tech-related issues since entering self-isolation.

The top technology issues respondents have experienced during self-isolation included websites crashing when paying bills, long hold times for customer service calls and their internet crashing or slowing down.

“The more customers depend on technology, the more disruptive any downtime or glitches become.

“Three-quarters of respondents agreed that it’s unacceptable for websites or apps to suffer an outage or be unavailable during the pandemic. That means companies have more responsibility to keep digital services available,” said John Beattie, Principal Consultant at Sungard AS.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated the shift to digital that was already happening, which means all businesses need to take a hard look at how resilient they really are.”

Over half of respondents have even become so frustrated with service, they’ve changed providers or even reduced their service levels while they’ve been sheltering in place.

Another 41 percent of respondents said they’re planning on cutting ties with a provider once the pandemic is over.

Nearly half of those surveyed said they’re even planning on avoiding certain companies altogether based on how they’ve handled their COVID-19 response.

Eighty-three percent of respondents also said that businesses should use the COVID-19 pandemic as a real-life example of what they should improve about their digital services.

“Consumers’ only loyalty is to businesses they trust and every outage, every crash, every gap in service erodes that relationship,” said Beattie.

“Whether they’re facing a hardware failure, a hurricane, a power outage or a global pandemic, companies have to ensure their infrastructure holds up and services remain available. If they don’t, customers will find another company that can.”

Top digital services used in self-isolation

  • Online/mobile financial services: 94 percent
  • Social media: 93 percent
  • Entertainment streaming: 89 percent
  • Video calling: 83 percent
  • Grocery delivery: 79 percent
  • Transportation service: 77 percent
  • Telehealth services: 76 percent
  • Online gaming: 76 percent
  • Prescription delivery: 76 percent
  • Online educational class: 74 percent
  • Travel service: 74 percent
  • Virtual fitness class: 72 percent
  • Virtual visit to a notable location: 70 percent

Increased technology use during coronavirus

  • Virtual fitness class: 289 percent
  • Online educational class: 263 percent
  • Visit to a notable location: 261 percent
  • Prescription delivery: 200 percent
  • Travel service: 180 percent
  • Video calling: 155 percent
  • Telehealth services: 154 percent
  • Transportation service: 149 percent
  • Grocery delivery: 139 percent
  • Social media: 105 percent
  • Online gaming: 104 percent
  • Entertainment streaming: 95 percent
  • Online/mobile financial services: 57 percent

Top technology issues experienced in self-isolation

  • Websites crashing when trying to pay bills: 46 percent
  • Longer hold times for customer service calls: 45 percent
  • Internet crashing or slowing down in my home: 42 percent
  • Websites crashing when trying to order online: 39 percent
  • Being locked out of an online account: 33 percent
  • Website crashing when filing for unemployment benefits: 29 percent
  • Inability to schedule a telehealth appointment: 24 percent
  • Cyberattack, hack or breach of my personal information or data: 21 percent

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