Consumers have become more and more reliant on digital services in recent years. During the COVID-19 pandemic, however, those services became essential.
Use of digital services more than doubled on average during the pandemic lockdowns, according to a new survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Sungard Availability Services. That growth, in everything from grocery and prescription delivery to video conferencing and mobile banking, has made a number of outages and glitches even more disruptive than usual.
The more consumers rely on these services, the more important it is for businesses to take a hard look at their resilience and risk to avoid outages that could result in lost customers.
Below you’ll see data on the most popular digital services during the pandemic, consumers’ lack of tolerance for tech disruptions, and an infographic highlighting the most significant numbers.
The most popular digital services during the COVID-19 pandemic
Some digital services are more essential than others. The list of services used by consumers at home during the pandemic shows clearly how widespread their use was and how suddenly many consumers adopted them.
Here are the top digital services based on the percentage of consumers using them during lockdown:
- Online/mobile financial services: 94%
- Social media: 93%
- Entertainment streaming: 89%
- Video calling: 83%
- Grocery delivery: 79%
- Transportation service: 77%
- Telehealth services: 76%
- Online gaming: 76%
- Prescription delivery: 76%
- Online educational class: 74%
- Travel service: 74%
- Virtual fitness class: 72%
- Virtual visit to a notable location: 70%
Some of these services were already in widespread use before the pandemic, such as streaming entertainment and financial services apps. Others saw a rapid surge during the pandemic.
Here’s how much the use of digital services increased during lockdown compared to before COVID-19:
- Virtual fitness class: 289%
- Online educational class: 263%
- Visit to a notable location: 261%
- Prescription delivery: 200%
- Travel service: 180%
- Video calling: 155%
- Telehealth services: 155%
- Transportation service: 149%
- Grocery delivery: 139%
- Social media: 105%
- Online gaming: 104%
- Entertainment streaming: 95%
- Online/mobile financial services: 57%
How reliant consumers are on digital services
Some 84% of those polled agree that the pandemic was a wake-up call on how reliant the world is on tech and digital services. More than three-quarters agree they wouldn’t be able to access things they need on a daily basis without today’s technology. And 71% agree they’ll continue using the digital services they adopted during the pandemic.
What consumers were willing to do to access those services, however, depended in part on their demographics. Overall, 61% of those surveyed said it was likely they would sacrifice the security of their personal information if it meant they could use a digital service to connect with others during lockdown.
When breaking down those who said it was likely by age, however, it’s clear that younger people were much more willing to sacrifice the security of their personal information:
- 69% of 18-23 year olds
- 71% of 24-39 year olds
- 58% of 40-55 year olds
- 14% of 55+ year olds
What the growing reliance on digital services means for businesses
There has been no greater demonstration of consumers’ reliance on technology than the pandemic stay-at-home orders. The rapid growth and extensive use of digital services during lockdown, along with consumers’ intention to continue using these services following the pandemic, will only make outages and technical glitches more alienating to users. That’s why more than half of respondents changed service providers or plans due to technical issues they experienced during lockdown.
The growing reliance on technology is a wake up call for every business to reassess its resilience and risk and take steps to shore up their disaster recovery and business continuity plans.