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Americans Slow to Adopt Low-Contact Services Amid Crisis

Americans Slow to Adopt Low-Contact Services Amid Crisis

Story Highlights

  • Greatest increases in restaurant takeout and store curbside pickup
  • 14% say they are having groceries delivered more since COVID-19 crisis
  • 61%-73% of those using services more now say they're likely to continue post-crisis

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- With an estimated 95% of Americans currently under stay-at-home orders of some kind, restaurants, stores and healthcare companies across the country are offering customers opportunities for low- or no-contact services. However, Gallup finds that most Americans have not been using these services, which typically allow the public to comply with social distancing guidelines while obtaining essential goods and services, more often than they did a month ago.

Picking up takeout food from a restaurant is the service that the most people, 28%, say they have been doing more often in recent weeks. No more than 22% of Americans report that in the past month they have been using each of five other such services more often than usual, as social distancing requirements have intensified. These include home delivery of medicine or medical supplies (5%) or groceries (14%), virtual doctor visits (14%), food delivery from a restaurant (15%) and curbside pickup at stores (22%).

Americans' Adoption of Lower-Contact Activities Over Past Two Weeks
During the coronavirus situation, have you been doing each of the following more often, less often, or about the same as you were a month ago?
Mar 27-29 Mar 30-Apr 2 Apr 3-5
% % %
Picked up takeout from a restaurant
More often 26 25 28
About the same 27 25 24
Less often 24 27 27
Have never done/Doesn't apply 23 23 20
Used curbside pickup at a store
More often 16 18 22
About the same 9 8 8
Less often 5 4 5
Have never done/Doesn't apply 70 70 66
Had food from a restaurant or pizzeria delivered
More often 10 12 15
About the same 25 24 21
Less often 22 22 22
Have never done/Doesn't apply 43 41 42
Had groceries delivered
More often 8 10 14
About the same 8 6 7
Less often 5 4 4
Have never done/Doesn't apply 80 80 75
Had a virtual visit with a doctor
More often 11 11 14
About the same 6 4 6
Less often 2 3 3
Have never done/Doesn't apply 81 83 78
Had medicine or medical supplies delivered
More often 4 4 5
About the same 14 14 15
Less often 3 2 2
Have never done/Doesn't apply 79 80 77

These findings are based on an online, probability-based Gallup Panel survey conducted April 3-5 as a growing number of states limited restaurants to takeout food only and ordered essential stores to restrict the number of shoppers who can be in the store at one time. Gallup has been tracking the data since March 27, and analysis shows a slight uptick in Americans' increased use of grocery delivery services (+6 percentage points), curbside pickup at a store (+6 points) and delivery from a restaurant (+5 points) over the 10-day period.

Still, at least two-thirds of Americans say they have never used store curbside pickup (66%), had home delivery of groceries (75%) or medicine/medical supplies (77%), or had a virtual doctor visit (78%).

Although delivery and pickup of food from a restaurant are more commonly used services, more than one in five say they are using each less often in the past month. Concerns about contracting the virus from food prepared outside of one's home, a desire to save money in a tough economic climate or the closure of some restaurants may explain this change.

Demographic Differences in Use of Convenience Services

There are several significant demographic differences in Americans' use of some of these services:

  • Age -- U.S. adults younger than 35 are more likely than those who are older to be picking up restaurant takeout food more often now than before the crisis. Similarly, 18- to 34-year-olds are more likely than those 55 and older to have had food delivered from a restaurant and used curbside store pickup.
  • Income -- Americans in households with annual incomes of at least $90,000 are more likely than those with incomes under $90,000 to say they are getting takeout and delivery from restaurants, using curbside store pickup and having groceries delivered more often now.
  • Urbanicity -- Those living in cities or suburbs are more likely than those in small towns or rural areas to say they are having food delivered from a restaurant and having groceries delivered.
Demographic Differences in Americans' Use of Lower-Contact Services During COVID-19 Crisis
% of U.S. adults who have been doing each of the following more often than a month ago
Picked up restaurant takeout Had food delivery from a restaurant Used curbside store pickup Had groceries delivered
% % % %
18-34 years old 36 28 27 14
35-54 years old 29 15 25 17
55 and older 23 5 15 12
Household income
Under $90,000 24 12 18 10
$90,000 and over 35 20 27 18
City 30 23 20 18
Suburb 29 19 20 17
Small town/Rural area 27 7 24 10
GALLUP PANEL, April 3-5, 2020

Most Who Have Relied More on Services Plan to Continue After Crisis

Broad majorities of Americans who have used each of the six services more often during the coronavirus situation say they are likely to continue doing so on a more frequent basis once widespread business closures and social distancing ends. Between 29% and 37% say they are "very likely" to continue, with the highest rate seen for restaurant delivery and the lowest for grocery delivery.

Bar graph. How likely Americans are to continue six lower-contact lifestyle behaviors once the COVID-19 crisis subsides.


As the coronavirus has forced people outside of their comfort zone in obtaining goods and services that they need, this may lead to greater use of such services once the coronavirus situation is over.

Learn more about how the Gallup Panel works.

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