Prior Insights from the CTA Tech Use and Purchase Tracker: COVID-19 Impact

See the most recent tracker results and analysis. 

Wave 11, June 17

Fielded June 12-14, 2020, the Bi-Weekly Consumer Technology Association (CTA)® Tech Tracker, now fielded every other week, monitors U.S. household use and purchases of tech including online services and devices during the COVID-19 pandemic. Key findings:

  • Purchases of headphones and earbuds reached an all-time high, 21% of U.S. households, up four percentage points from the last wave fielded May 29-31, with important uses both inside and outside the home.
  • Purchases of TVs increased two percentage points from the last wave to reach 14% of U.S. households.
  • With consistent purchasing rates over the weeks since first conducting the survey in late March, laptops (16% of U.S. households) and smartphones (18%) both remain steady purchases week-to-week.

"Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and increasing economic uncertainty, tech hardware purchases have remained resilient," said Lesley Rohrbaugh, director of research, CTA. "Consistency in staple categories such as headphones, TVs and smartphones U.S. household purchases signals unwavering value in our everyday lives."



Week 10, June 3

Fielded May 29-31, 2020, the tenth weekly Consumer Technology Association (CTA)® Tech Tracker monitors U.S. household use and purchases of tech including online services and devices during the COVID-19 pandemic. Key findings:

  • Use of social media platforms saw the biggest jump week over week to reach almost half (46%) of U.S. households, up 5 percentage points from last week (41%), and an all-time high since CTA began tracking 10 weeks ago.
  • Streaming live TV services also reached an all-time high, reaching 26% of U.S. households, up 4 percentage points from last week.
  • U.S. household use of video conferencing platforms doubled from 10 weeks ago (24%).

"The milestone household use of social media platforms and streaming live TV services shows that millions of American households are following along in real-time as significant national events, such as the pandemic and protests around the country, unfold on broadcast news and across their social feeds," said Lesley Rohrbaugh, director of research, CTA.


Week Nine, May 27

Fielded May 22-24, 2020, the ninth weekly Consumer Technology Association (CTA)® Tech Tracker monitors U.S. household use and purchases of tech, including online services and devices, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • U.S. household use of online health services, such as virtual doctor visits and digital therapy services, reached 10%, nearly double from 6% nine weeks ago.
  • Use and purchase of many tech services and devices were slightly down week over week, likely due to the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

“One in 10 households used online health services, such as telehealth, last week —nearly doubling over the last nine weeks,” said Lesley Rohrbaugh, director of research, CTA. “Over the past few months, these types of services have grown invaluable to help us stay healthy from home.”


Week Eight, May 20

Fielded May 15-17, 2020, the eighth weekly Consumer Technology Association (CTA)® Tech Tracker monitors U.S. household use and purchases of tech, including online services and devices, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Key findings:

  • Use of online streaming music, such as Spotify or Apple Music, (34% of U.S. households) continues to tick upward week to week, up from 30% at the beginning of April.
  • Use of video and conference call platforms, such as Zoom or Slack, maintain their high of 23% of households, up from just 12% in late March.

"So far, there’s been consistent tech buying habits during the COVID-19 pandemic," said Lesley Rohrbaugh, director of research, CTA. "According to other CTA research, looking ahead, one-third of U.S. homes plan to purchase more tech products within the next year compared to last year, despite the outbreak. It’s clear people are still buying and using technology as they continue to stay home, showing how tech plays a vital role in our everyday lives."


Week Seven, May 13

Fielded May 8-10, 2020, the seventh weekly Consumer Technology Association (CTA)® Tech Tracker monitors U.S. household use and purchases of tech including online services and devices during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key findings:

  • Last week, four out of five (79%) U.S. households used a service of some kind, such as video streaming, gaming and online delivery services (list of services surveyed included in graphic below).
  • Video and conference call platforms such as Zoom or Slack have hit another high of 23%, up from 12% six weeks ago.

"Amid the economic uncertainty, we’re still seeing consistent spending on tech products and use of tech services week over week — a testament to the role technology is playing in our lives right now," said Lesley Rohrbaugh, director of research, CTA.


Week Six, May 6

Fielded May 1-3, 2020, the sixth weekly Consumer Technology Association (CTA)® Tech Tracker monitors U.S. household use and purchases of tech including online services and devices during the COVID-19 pandemic. Key findings:

  • For the first time this past week, more than half (51%) of all U.S. households used at least one online food or grocery delivery service, up from 46% six weeks ago (March 27-29).
  • Steadily rising week after week, video and conference call platforms have hit a high of 22%, up from 12% six weeks ago.

“Use of online food or grocery delivery services hit a big milestone this week,” said Lesley Rohrbaugh, director of research, CTA. “Households across generations are using these technology services more than ever to have food delivered during the COVID-19 outbreak.”


Week Five, April 29

Fielded April 24-26, 2020, the fifth weekly Consumer Technology Association (CTA)® Tech Tracker monitors U.S. household use and purchases of tech including online services and devices during the COVID-19 pandemic. Key findings:

  • Households that ordered take-out from nearby restaurants (28%) — through food delivery apps or directly from restaurants — saw a jump week over week, up by 4 percentage points.
  • Streaming services held steady week after week, with 25% of households using streaming live TV services last week, an increase of 4 percentage points over the prior week.

“After weeks in quarantine, there has been a slight rise in households ordering take-out from nearby restaurants — one of the options for people to support and experience local businesses outside of the house during this time,” said Lesley Rohrbaugh, director of research, CTA. “Households ordering take-out directly or via apps, using grocery delivery services and ordering curbside pick-up are all different methods households are using more to feed themselves right now.


From Week Four, April 22

Fielded April 17-19, 2020, the fourth weekly Consumer Technology Association (CTA)® Tech Tracker monitors U.S. household use and purchases of tech including online services and devices during the COVID-19 pandemic. Key findings include shifts in gaming behavior:

  • Household use of online multiplayer gaming services (22%), such as Xbox Live and PlayStation Plus, is rising slightly week-over-week — up from 18% less than a month ago.
  • One in five (20%) of households purchased headphones or earbuds, which is a 4 percentage point increase week over week.
  • More than half of households (55%) are using streaming video services, making it the most popular service among those surveyed.

“Use of online multiplayer gaming services continues to grow, especially as the weeks without live sports drag on,” said Lesley Rohrbaugh, director of research, CTA.

“Many pro gamers and even pro athletes are playing online sports games, like NASCAR, while audiences watch live via streaming platforms, such as Twitch and YouTube. It’s bridging the gap between sports fans and gamers, and it's also raising money for a number of different charities.”


From Week Three, April 15

Fielded April 10-12, 2020, the third Consumer Technology Association (CTA)® Tech Tracker monitors U.S. household use and purchases of tech including online services and devices during the COVID-19 outbreak. Key findings point to a shift in use of tech services due to the holiday weekend:

  • One-fifth (20%) of U.S. households used video and conference call platforms, such as Zoom and Slack, over the past week — up 8 percentage points over the course of the last three weeks — as more Americans use this technology for professional and social gatherings.
  • Curbside pickup of retail and grocery items (15%) also saw a third straight week of growth, up 3 percentage points in the last three weeks, as people stay inside.
  • Household use of streaming video services, such as Netflix or Amazon Prime, fell slightly by 4 percentage points (52%) during the holiday weekend.

“This weekend, many Americans spent the holiday weekend celebrating a virtual Seder or Easter from their homes,” said Lesley Rohrbaugh, director of research, CTA. “The holiday celebrations likely led to another week-over-week jump in the use of platforms such as Zoom and Slack to connect with family members and tune into religious services. Holiday weekend gatherings with family — in-person or virtual — also likely contributed to a dip in video streaming service use.” 


From Week Two, April 8

Fielded April 3-5, 2020, key findings from the second week of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)® weekly tracker monitoring U.S. household use and purchases of tech including online services and devices, during COVID-19 outbreak:

  • Almost one-fifth (19%) of U.S. households used video and conference call platforms, such as Zoom and Slack, over the past week — up 7 percentage points and the largest jump among all services.
  • Almost three-quarters (70%) of households used a streaming or download service, such as video, gaming or music services, to stay engaged, up from 66% last week.
  • Household use of online education courses (13%) is up 4 percentage points from last week, as more kids begin distance learning.

“Americans are getting creative as they use tech devices and services to stay connected during the COVID-19 crisis,” said Lesley Rohrbaugh, director of research, CTA. “Not only are more Americans using video conference call platforms including Zoom and Slack at work, but they’re also using the platforms socially too, with a surge in virtual birthday parties, happy hours and game nights.”


From Week One, April 1, 2020

Key findings of CTA’s new weekly tracker monitoring U.S. household use and purchases of tech including online services and devices, during COVID-19 outbreak (fielded March 27-29):

Two-thirds of U.S. households (66%) used a streaming/download service — such as video, gaming or music services — to stay entertained.

Almost half (46%) used an online food/grocery delivery service as stay-at-home orders increase across the country.

Headphones (19%) were the most purchased tech device among those included in last week’s survey.

“Americans are experiencing an unprecedented lifestyle shift during the COVID-19 crisis and finding ways that enable them to adjust to the situation,” said Lesley Rohrbaugh, director of research, CTA. “Tech services including food and grocery delivery and online streaming are helping families stay healthy, engaged and connected.”



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Designed and formulated by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)®, the Weekly CTA Tech Use and Purchase Tracker: COVID-19 Impact represents findings from a quantitative study administered to an online sample of a minimum of 1000 U.S. respondents.

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