I’ve never seen anything like what’s happening on our platform right now.
We had 5.7 million responses to our polls last week. On Monday. Just Monday.
We’re now steadily over 5 million every 24 hours.
That’s like 1,000 people answering a 20-question survey every 5 minutes. Almost all of it is about the coronavirus because almost everything is about the coronavirus right now.
Sure, it helps that people are sitting at home, glued to the internet, especially to the kinds of content websites where our polls live. It’s not like answering a few quick questions is some huge sacrifice (that’s the point), but people are contributing when they’re needed most. We don’t pay them.
It’s allowing us to report findings – literally – in real-time. We’re telling cities what household supplies their residents are running out of. We’re telling healthcare companies how many people are afraid of getting tested because of the cost. We’re telling everyone that it’s okay to be scared and anxious and sad, because we all are.
We’ve been publishing 15-20 studies every week and syndicating them across multiple news outlets because newsrooms are crushed. The publishers who host our polls are gaining insights they couldn’t afford to buy, especially as digital advertising recedes.
It’s all free.
The whole elaborate machine we built is finally running on every cylinder, like we dreamed. People tell us what they think – to make a difference, to inform themselves – and we work our magic. Creating a foundational source of truth when it was never needed more.
It’s the reason “Civic” is in our name. Few people understand that. They think it means we’re a political polling firm, when we don’t do any of that.
But if you study the origin of the word civic – and trust me, I did – its Latin roots are about community, selflessness, oneness. And that’s what’s happening right now. At scale.
When you get to the end of this email every week, and you answer a few of those frivolous questions, then start down the rabbit hole answering others, you’re making a difference, even if it doesn’t feel like it.
And it’s helping a lot of people. Answer away.
Here’s what we’re seeing:
Well, consumer confidence finally went to hell. We first built our Economic Sentiment Index at Carnegie Mellon in 2012 and never since then has it seen numbers as dismal as the ones we reported this week. And this was even before the news of unemployment filings on Thursday. You can see the bloodbath for yourself in the chart below. The only positive metric is the measure of 6-month economic outlook. But, naturally, everyone thinks the economy will get better. How could it be worse? (Don’t answer that.)
Sex toys are all the rage during quarantine. How’s that for a change of subject? Our team published the definitive study on sex during the coronavirus epidemic this week and it’s full of all kinds of sordid insights. For starters, a lot of unmarried folks are shacking up with someone they don’t usually live with and, well, it doesn’t seem like they sleep or eat or do much of anything with their clothes on. Married people, different story. Try not to click on that link up there. I dare you.
People who use Facebook are much more likely to know somebody who tested positive for the coronavirus. No, that’s not causation. Active users of social networks like Facebook and Instagram have far more friends – if you can call them that – so it makes sense if they’re only a degree or two of separation from someone infected with COVID-19. It’s particularly true among young people. What’s important is that knowing a victim first-hand changes the way you view this crisis. Because of course it does.
Advertisers suck at their jobs right now. Even though Facebook, Twitter, and major news sites are seeing unprecedented traffic, they can’t make money from it because – among other reasons – advertisers are afraid to place their media next to CV-related content. They do have a point, because consumers say, amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the digital ads they’re seeing are increasingly irrelevant to them. On the other hand, maybe advertisers are just being lazy. There are huge audiences online with greater needs than ever. Lean into it, with the right message, and you win.
The meteoric rise of telemedicine during the CV crisis will be one of the biggest trends to stick long after the virus is gone. Maybe you like walking into smelly, germy doctor’s offices. Have fun with that. The rest of us would rather avoid it, and now we can. Overall usage and intent to use telemedicine services have jumped dramatically in the last 3 weeks, particularly among older patients who previously thought themselves Luddites. Now that they know how easy it is, why would they ever go back? They won’t.
Otherwise, we published far too many things this week for me to write about. As I told you before and I’ll tell you again, nobody is studying this crisis on more dimensions, every day, than we are. So, I’ll just give a quick synopsis of some winners and losers:
- People are running out of perishable foods (see: “perishable”). And the inability of grocery delivery or curbside pick-up to meet demand, coupled with people avoiding the store until it’s dire, isn’t helping (unless you’re in the non-perishable food biz);
- People are streaming way less music while they’re stuck at home. Makes plenty of sense if you think about it;
- And rideshare services are basically screwed until this thing is over;
- Also, pretty much every working-age person is miserable. The people who’ve lost their jobs have it worst but even remote workers are much more stressed.
- Vitamins are good. People are taking a lot more vitamins;
- Hiking is up (get it?). Especially among younger people;
- Food delivery is booming, relatively speaking, especially among remote workers. Yay!;
- Weed is kind of in-between. Cannabis use is down appreciably since the start of the crisis mostly because the dispensaries have been closed. But the majority of people think medical dispensaries should be considered “essential” – which says a lot.
- Thankfully, generosity is way up. Whether it’s supporting local businesses, donating to nonprofits, or tipping service providers, Americans are giving;
- Holy cow are people snacking more! We studied the most popular quarantine comfort foods and other indulgences (Spoiler: Chocolate chip cookies are king).
And finally, Tom Brady is a winner. Since his move to Tampa Bay, Brady’s popularity nationwide improved considerably (and especially in Florida). Maybe people never really hated Brady. They just hate the filthy, cheating Patriots. Yep. That’s it.
Here are the most popular questions from this week:
- Aside from family members, does anyone else have a key to your home?
- Are you disinfecting mail, packages, and other deliveries during COVID-19?
- Do you keep or discard greeting cards after receiving them?
- What terminology are you using to refer to the COVID-19 pandemic?
- How do you / did you refer to your spouse’s parents?
Hoping you’re well my friends.