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The Pandemic is Changing Personalities

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The global pandemic has changed our personalities according to a study by Oracle. The representative survey of 2,000 U.S. consumers found that the circumstances created by COVID-19 have made many people feel smarter and more open to new experiences, but also more conscientious and disconnected from their personal relationships.

Nicer, More Open Personalities Emerge

The global pandemic has changed people’s personalities, with Americans reporting increased conscientiousness, openness to new experiences, and agreeableness.

  • 86% say they saw a change in at least one of the five major “OCEAN” personality traits due to COVID-19.
  • Becoming more conscientious (40%) and open to new experiences (38%) were the most common personality changes.
  • Despite the stresses of the moment, 33% of people reported increased agreeableness due to the global pandemic.

Increased Online Activity and New Hobbies Have Us Feeling Smarter

More time at home has led to reading, streaming, and new hobbies, making Americans feel smarter.

  • 70% of Americans say they have read and learned more during the pandemic and feel smarter. By comparison, only 30% say the chaos of the pandemic distracted them from continuing to learn new things.
  • 58% say the media source they spend the most time on is either social or streaming media. Comparatively, only 20% report spending the most time watching traditional television.
  • 70% also started at least one “trendy” hobby during the pandemic with the three most common being at-home workouts (46%), baking sourdough or banana bread (27%), making whipped coffee (23%), and filming TikTok videos (21%).
  • And while some binge shopped and accrued more belongings (32%), 30% of individuals decreased the number of personal belongings during the pandemic.

Romance and Relationships Redefined

Social distancing and shelter-in-place measures have taken a significant toll on romantic relationships, as well as relationships with friends and family.

  • Among the 30% of respondents who identified as single, 72% say the pandemic altered their romantic outlook, with 61% having spent lockdowns alone.
  • 27% of Americans changed their relationship status during the pandemic. The most common relationship change was break up or divorce (19%), while only 9% got engaged or married.
    • Among those who went through a breakup or divorce, only 21% were able to dissolve the relationship with an in-person conversation.
    • Midwesterners were the most likely to have an in-person conversation (35%), while the West Coasters were least likely (14%). Northeasterners were the most likely group to use Zoom to break up (19%) and Southwesterners were most likely to end a relationship with ghosting (21%).
    • 32% of Gen Z respondents who had a beak up did so over a text message.
  • 34% of Americans report their relationships with friends becoming less connected, compared to 15% who became closer with friends. In addition, 52% reported making no new friends over the past year.
  • More than 70% say their relationships with family changed, with 22% feeling less connected with their family. However, 30% believe the pandemic brought their family closer together.

Americans Adapt to New Normal But Are Excited to Get Out Again

People quickly embraced technology without missing the old work rituals of commuting or being professionally dressed, but we do yearn for post-pandemic experiences.

  • Sweatsuits and pajamas have become the most popular attire for Zoom calls for work (38%), while 14% say they’ve been partially naked on a work Zoom call.
  • 43% did not miss the commute to work, business travel (31%), or getting dressed or groomed professionally (30%).
  • The most popular services or habits formed during the pandemic included:
    • Delivery (51%)
    • Increased spending on groceries instead of restaurants (48%)
    • Contactless/cashless payments (46%)
    • Curbside pickup (44%)
    • Virtual doctor appointments (40%)
  • 40% of Americans are planning to continue using these services in the future.
  • 96% of Americans are planning to enjoy at least one previously restricted activity when it’s safe. The most anticipated activities include indoor dining (74%), travel out of state (72%), and concerts (61%).
  • More than half of people in loyalty programs (54%) are concerned that accrued rewards points will expire.

“We experienced several paradoxes over the last 13 plus months. We were lonely, yet more connected online. We were bored yet took on many new hobbies. We were isolated from in-person learning, yet still feel smarter,” said Nate Skinner, senior vice president, Oracle Advertising and Customer Experience (CX). “Our lives were impacted in ways we couldn’t control, and our rapidly changing consumer habits make it hard for brands to keep up. The experiences of the last year will continue to have massive implications on our consumption and buying behavior as we move forward in a post-pandemic era.”

Edited by Maryssa Gordon, Senior Editor, Price of Business Digital Network

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