TV, Streaming and E-Commerce Skyrocket During Pandemic

According to a poll by Los Angeles-based E-Poll Market Research, Americans have doubled their TV viewing in the last month-and-a-half and expect to continue watching TV and streaming more after the coronavirus pandemic is over. E-Poll also found that people are wary of going into spaces such as theaters, concert venues, sports stadiums and theme parks where social distancing is problematic. Polling lowest was “taking a cruise.” E-commerce is also booming in the current crisis, with Amazon seen as the biggest winner.

Variety reports that E-Poll’s survey, which was conducted April 16-20, showed that, post-pandemic, “the top two activities Americans plan to continue … are exercising outdoors and in at-home gyms, along with a pronounced lift in cooking,” followed closely by “watching TV shows, movies, streamed programming.” Of those surveyed, 21 percent said they intended to do more viewing of TV/streaming content, with 14 percent saying they anticipated doing less, “for a net consumer intent of +7 percent.”

With regard to streaming music, U.S. consumers “plan to do more, with a net +6 percent.” Variety suggests that, “the survey findings suggest the high-water mark for TV viewing could be the new baseline.”

Nielsen reports that “streaming video viewing on TVs in the U.S. hit 654.6 billion minutes from March 23-April 19, more than twice the 301.4 billion in the comparable four-week period in 2019.” In the week of April 13, Netflix “captured the biggest share of that viewing time (32 percent) followed by YouTube (20 percent).”

A Performance Research study revealed that about 47 percent of those surveyed said the idea of going to a major public event “will scare me for a long time.” But, notes Variety, “research based on asking people to forecast their own expected behavior isn’t always a great indicator of what will actually happen.”

Bloomberg reports that, with Amazon’s boom during the pandemic, “Wall Street has been growing steadily more optimistic about its prospects.” Analysts expect revenue of about $73 billion when Amazon reports its Q1 2020 results next week, and “the average price target on the stock is $2,479, up about $300 from the end of 2019.”

According to JPMorgan, the pandemic is “accelerating online adoption in key categories like grocery and household items,” which is expected to continue when the coronavirus wanes. Goldman Sachs also wrote that the pandemic would “steepen the curve of [Amazon’s] long term growth rate, drive incremental profitability, and further deepen the competitive moat around all of its businesses.” Amazon has also “nearly overtaken Apple in market capitalization.”

Other e-commerce companies whose fortunes have been boosted by the pandemic include Shopify, up more than 85 percent from earlier this month, and Wayfair which has “more than quintupled off a March low, having surged more than 400 percent over the period.” Online auction site eBay’s shares are up “nearly 50 percent from a low hit last month.” In comparison, “the SPDR S&P Retail ETF, an exchange-traded fund that tracks retail stocks, is down 25 percent thus far this year.”