Friday, November 27

Coronavirus Is Conditioning New Entertainment Habits That May Not Change Post-Pandemic


The coronavirus pandemic has clearly affected how people enjoy entertainment and video games. And a new study from consulting firm Deloitte suggests that for the majority of people, the habits they’ve formed over the last few months could stick with them.

During the pandemic, 38% of consumers say they’ve tried out a new digital media subscription or activity, like playing video games or streaming movies, for the first time. More than two-thirds of those people say they’ll continue to use their new service or engage in the new activity after the pandemic has passed.

The findings were part of a broader Deloitte study on how habits have changed and shifted since the coronavirus pandemic started earlier this year. From doubling down on streaming services to boost their video game playing, the way people entertain themselves has changed in important — and potentially permanent — ways.

Before the pandemic, the average consumer had 12 media and entertainment subscriptions and paid for an average of three of those services. Since the pandemic started, the average consumer is now paying for four streaming services. Looking ahead, Deloitte said 27% of consumers plan to subscribe to even more services in the coming year.

That said, Deloitte also found evidence that many Americans, worried about the impact the pandemic and widespread unemployment is having on their wallets, are starting to take advantage of free, ad-supported services.

In fact, since the start of the pandemic, 17% of people have canceled a service. Thirty-six percent of those people say they’ve canceled the service because of “high costs.” Another 35% say they scuttled their subscriptions because of “expiring discounts or free trials.”

“With cheap trials and easy cancellations, consumers can binge watch their favorite shows, drop the subscription, and then return when the next season launches,” Deloitte Center for Technology, Media and Telecommunications executive director Dr. Jeff Loucks said in a statement. “The biggest challenge for providers will likely be to retain customers once their series is over and the full price kicks in. Free ad-supported streaming could gain market share from paid services as budgets tighten.”

Video games may prove to be the biggest pandemic benefactor. Since mid-March, 48% of consumers have played video games, including 69% of Millennials and 75% of Gen Z. Nearly three in 10 consumers said they’d rather play a video game than stream a movie or television show. A third of consumers told Deloitte that video games got them “through a difficult time” during the height of the pandemic.

Looking ahead, the Deloitte study makes clear that streaming and video gaming activities will be here to stay long after the COVID-19 threat has passed. And many of the activities consumers either picked up or doubled down on over the last few months may become lasting habits.

Indeed, those activities could very well become replacements for big events: Deloitte found that just a third of Americans are willing to go to live events in the next six months.



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