The Impact of Covid-19 on Consumer Online Surveys

Within the consumer data industry, many have wondered what effect Covid-19 has on studies around the world. In particular, researchers have seen surveys that are normally conducted offline, such as in-depth interviews or group discussions that require direct contact with survey participants, be postponed due to the risk of contact infection. Many clients may be wondering, should I postpone, cancel, or switch my studies to online?

Here at Syno we routinely run both online quantitative and customer experience surveys. Using the results of a multi-year 10-country tracking study, along with CX results from Japan, we analyzed the effects of the coronavirus in terms of consumer response, completion, and dropout rates. In particular, instead of verifying the impact of Covid-19 based on respondents’ actual answers to surveys (for example, consumer feelings or intentions, future outlook, etc.), we looked at the completion and dropout rates of the questionnaires themselves. Noting that, while this is current at present, the situation may change significantly depending on what happens in the future.

Summary of Results

  • There was no negative impact on the completion or dropout rate of our ten-country, quantitative tracking study. On the contrary, the completion rate was higher in all 10 regions compared to 2019. (IE, the dropout rate has decreased.)
  • Since similar trends were seen in all age, gender, residence types, and other segments, it is clear that the above is not a tendency limited to a specific demographic.
  • In particular, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Thailand had a higher completion rate, over 120% year-on-year.
  • In addition, while a dropout rate of over 10% was seen in all countries in the March 2019 survey, in March 2020, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Australia, and France fell below the 10% line.
  • With regards to the response rates of customer experience surveys, for those whose answers were solicited online, no negative impact was seen. IE, there was no correlation between the rise in Covid-19 infections and the number of completed responses or the dropout rate.
  • However, for those CX surveys that were solicited using offline QR codes, the number of respondents tended to decrease significantly as the number of people infected with Covid-19 increased.

Syno’s Take on the Results

  • It is interesting that the Covid-19 outbreak has not had an effect in online quantitative and CX surveys. Indeed, the field time required to collect our samples was no more than usual. Perhaps because people have more time on their hands, they are more open to answering online surveys. In light of this, it seems that there is no problem in terms of collecting responses when switching quantitative and qualitative surveys to online methods.
  • For CX surveys, especially for those collected offline from store receipts, etc., the drop in respondents cannot be avoided considering the fall in foot-traffic to stores due to suspension of business and shortened business hours. However, as with our global tracking study, there was no effect on the response rate or dropout rate for online CX surveys using channels such as email and SNS. Because of this, it is possible to continue to understand your customers’ experiences by conducting CX surveys using online channels (for example, by targeting online buyers).

Details of our Global Research Study

Verification Method

In March 2019 and 2020, we conducted the same 10-region study (Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Australia, US, UK, Germany, France) using the same conditions (target, survey time, duration, panel source, etc). Using these two studies, we were able to compare the response completion rate* and dropout rate** for each country.

* The completion rate is the percentage of all respondents who clicked on the survey link and answered it all the way to the end.

** The dropout rate is the percentage of all respondents who clicked on the survey link and who answered it all the way to the end verses those who discontinued the survey halfway through.

Study Results

The completion rates were higher in all regions compared to last year. Especially in China, Thailand, and Hong Kong, the completion rate increased more than 20%, followed by Australia and Germany at more than 10%.

Looking at the dropout rate, the number of people who dropped out in the middle of the questionnaire tended to decrease, especially in Thailand, Hong Kong, and Singapore. The dropout rate was less than 10% of the total in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Australia, and France.

Summary

After comparing the March 2019 and March 2020 results from the same survey, we can see that there was no negative effect from Covid-19 on the completion and dropout rates. Indeed, the number of respondents finishing the questionnaire was actually higher, leading to a lower dropout rate. It can be said that, with more people finishing the survey, this period offers a greater chance to collect online data than usual times.

Details of our CX Study

Verification Method

By looking at the daily increase in Covid-19 cases in Japan, we compared the number of Covid-19 cases to the CX survey response rates for both online and offline sources.

Study Results

*The actual number of CX respondents (left axis) is confidential due to privacy agreements. The right axis shows the total number of new coronavirus infections each week.

Comparing over time the number of people infected with Covid-19 with the number of CX respondents from online sources (such as those collected from questionnaires sent out over email, SNS, etc.), we can see that there was no negative impact. On the contrary, the number of responses actually increased, a trend we found across industries.

*The actual number of CX respondents (left axis) is confidential due to privacy agreements. The right axis shows the total number of new coronavirus infections each week.

Furthermore, regarding the survey completion rate, we saw no correlation between the number of people infected with Covid-19 and the completion rate. There was also no was no effect on the survey dropout rate.

In contrast, for CX surveys taken from offline sources (QR codes at retail stores, restaurants and coffee shops, tourist sites, etc), the number of respondents tended to decrease as the number of coronavirus infections increased. Especially for tourist sites, this tendency became apparent at an early stage.

 

*The actual number of CX respondents (left axis) is confidential due to privacy agreements. The right axis shows the total number of new coronavirus infections each week.

Summary

The spread of Covid-19 had little to no impact on CX surveys from online sources. On the other hand, for CX surveys from offline sources, completion rates decreased significantly. As footfall in retail establishments fell due to Covid-19’s spread, the number of people participating in the surveys also fell. In short, if companies still want to collect CX information from their customers, switching from offline sources to online ones makes for a viable strategy.

If you are interested in conducting your own online global research or CX studies, please feel free to contact us.

About Syno

Headquartered in Vilnius, Lithuania, with employees and full-time consultants across eleven offices in Europe, North America, and East and Southeast Asia, Syno International provides clients a cloud-based, consumer Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) platform—enabling data-driven organizations to make better business decisions through access to 3D people profiles. Syno International’s clients include market research agencies, management consultancies, media agencies, brands, and publishers. For additional information, please visit www.syno.com.sg

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