The pandemic has spurred consumers around the world to give new online services and apps a try, and many will probably keep using them, even after the COVID-19 pandemic has faded into distant memory.
Nearly half of respondents to a new global survey (45%) said they expect to use more online services after the pandemic than they did before it started.
The study, conducted by digital identity services provider ForgeRock, found that over the past months, many consumers have become accustomed to using apps to do everything from order food to manage their healthcare.
Food apps, education services are a hit in the U.S.
The study focused on five key areas in the world: the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany and Singapore.
Of all of the national groups surveyed, Americans were the most likely to download food-related apps and online services. The trend is in line with another recent study showing that Americans are ordering takeout from restaurants more frequently during the pandemic than they were before the outbreak began.
Other online categories that saw an uptick in usage by U.S. consumers included:
- Education (80%)
- Entertainment (68%)
- Government services (61%)
Nearly half of U.S. respondents (49%) said they would probably use more apps and online services after the pandemic than they used before, even after all COVID-19-related restrictions are lifted.
Among the five nation groups surveyed, Americans were also most smitten with online-only healthcare services, with 11% saying they were comfortable with receiving health care online.
And although virtual learning has been a source of frustration for many U.S. families, Americans were the most likely to be in favor of online classes, compared to the other countries surveyed by ForgeRock. In fact, more than one-third of U.S. respondents (34%) said they would prefer online classes if given a choice between virtual and in-person learning.
At the same time, Americans were also interested in the possibility of using apps or online services for political purposes. Among U.S. respondents, 42% said they would want to vote online if possible, and 58% said they would prefer to register to vote via the internet.
Younger consumers leading the way
Globally, consumers between the ages of 25 and 34 were mostly likely to try new apps and online services during the pandemic. However, those between 18 and 24 appear to be “the most committed” to their new digital tools, as 34% of that age group said the apps and other online platforms would “completely replace” certain in-person activities, according to ForgeRock.
Meanwhile, respondents who are 65 years or older were the age group most likely to sign up for online grocery services. Still, 45% of seniors said they plan to return to their in-store grocery shopping routines after the pandemic eases.
The last example illustrates that at least some of those willing to explore new apps and online services are just as willing to discard them. In fact, if a given service has a difficult log-in process, 35% would cancel their account, with 32% saying they would seek a different online method as a replacement.
Methodology: ForgeRock surveyed 5,000 consumers in the U.S., U.K., Australia, Germany and Singapore. The survey was conducted Sept. 4-9, 2020.