As news about the Coronavirus has taken over the national conversation, we asked Snapchatters in the US their views on the pandemic and how it has affected them.
The following insights were informed by a variety of sources: a recent in-app survey on the Coronavirus, aggregated and anonymized location visitation data trends, and top trends from Snapchat Search, Sticker Search data, Public Snap captions, and Our Story Submission captions. The survey data was collected last week, so we may see shifts as behaviors continue to change across the country.
As more and more Snapchatters are staying inside, they are increasingly turning to Snapchat to stay connected with their real friends, family, and loved ones. Snapchatters around the country report that they are using Snapchat more, as well as having more phone and video calls, to stay connected while they are not able to see their friends in person. 1
Compared to March 6th - 12th, trips out of the house were less frequent from March 13th - 19th. In this time period, movie theatre visits are down 40%, and music venues are seeing a 59% dip in customers as more and more shows get cancelled. Foot traffic to bars and casual dining are down 29% each, gyms are seeing a 41% decrease, malls are down 32% and universities and high schools are closing their doors, so the 73% and 86% plunge in visitation, respectively, comes as no surprise. Airports and hotels are each seeing 22% fewer customers. As Snapchatters stocked up before sheltering at home, grocery stores are seeing an increase in visitation by 2%. 2 Remember, this is from last week, so we may see visitations drop even further.
The majority of Snapchatters (60%) are concerned about Coronavirus. Women (66%) are somewhat more likely than men (52%) to feel worried. This feeling is most common with older Snapchatters, with nearly two-thirds of Snapchatters over 35 saying that they’re at least nervous. 3
As for who it’s affecting, over half of Snapchatters agree that the virus is impacting their daily life. Men are less likely to say they’re feeling its impact. At the time of the survey, nearly a quarter said that they strongly felt unaffected. 4 Given more recent announcements and guidelines that suggest staying out of public spaces and keeping gatherings under 10 people, 5 this number will likely rise in the days to come.
Where is everyone going for news updates? It varies across several sources, but most often Snapchatters are looking to official government sources like the CDC and WHO (50%) and online news sources (50%). Additionally, Snapchatters said they turn to friends and family, as well as news sources within the app itself to stay up-to-date on the news. 6
How Long, Exactly?
One of the biggest questions is how long this will last. Almost half (44%) expect to feel disrupted for at least a month, and 16% of respondents believe it will last over two months. Teenagers are the most optimistic about a short disruption right now, despite the many school closures. Regardless of quarantine recommendations and new public policies, most hypothesize this change will last less than four weeks. 7 With many schools closed until at least April 20th, the topics of shut downs and online classes are also trending. 8
Know Your Germs
One of the biggest shifts among Snapchatters has been an increase in germ awareness. Two-thirds of respondents under 18 agree that they are more informed on the spread of germs than they were a month ago, 9 perhaps due to the education they’ve received from government agencies like the CDC and WHO. Unsurprisingly, some of the top trending topics among Snapchatters relate to germs and include wipes, hand sanitizer, Lysol, and social distancing. 10
New Snapchatter Habits
Of course staying inside means adjusting your routine, so it's no surprise that new methods of keeping busy revolve around internet use. When asked what they’re doing more of since the outbreak, Snapchatters shared that streaming services are the big entertainer at 33%, while gaming (25%), online shopping (12%), and ordering food (9%) are the other increasingly popular habits. In particular, men said they are gaming more (37%), a surge that outpaces the increases reported among women (16%). 11 The most popular game franchises cited include Call of Duty, Madden, Minecraft, and Mario. 12 Spikes in TV and streaming-related searches have been heavy on the topics of Harry Potter and general news, as well as The Bachelor, Grey’s Anatomy, The Invisible Man, and Love Is Blind. 13
At Snap, we are also taking a proactive approach to ensuring our community has access to credible, fact-based information during these times. As the situation continues to unfold, we’ll work to ensure Snapchatters have the information they need to stay safe and help protect others.
Stay tuned for more updates in the coming weeks.