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Trends in video

Consumers say post-pandemic, video is here to stay: Insights into video usage in 2021


  • Jessica Palay
    Jessica Palay
  • Mar 11, 2021
TLDR

The pandemic put video front and center. With insights from our consumer survey and data from the 2021 State of Customer Engagement report, here’s how we expect consumers to use video this year.

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Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations across sectors spanning healthcare, education, and more have had to find ways to connect while keeping the public safe—and one of the easiest solutions they’ve found has been replacing in-person interactions with live video calls.

From major events shifting to the virtual world and the growing importance of video conferencing, at-home video use—both in personal and professional contexts—has become an increasingly central part of all of our lives.

Our COVID-19 digital engagement report last year illustrated the incredible scale of digital transformation that has taken place as a result of the pandemic, with 95 percent of companies reporting that it led them to find new ways to engage with customers, and 92 percent planning to continue expanding their digital channels even once the world begins to reopen.

Today, vaccine distribution has begun and the potential for a return to some of our social norms seems closer than ever. But after experiencing such an immense paradigm shift, will consumers want to go back to in-person experiences if given the option?

To help answer that question, we created a brief survey of U.S. consumers to learn how they’re using video now, and how they plan to continue using it in the future. Paired with insights from our new 2021 State of Customer Engagement report, we’ve laid out the key trends you need to know.

How consumers use video today

Our consumer survey shows that companies ramping up their video offerings has been met by rapid consumer adoption: 42.8 percent of our respondents reported that they make live video calls on a daily basis or even multiple times a day.

These uses aren’t limited to one industry or part of daily life—revealing just how dominant of a channel video has become in the habits of consumers.

Why consumers turn to video

According to our survey, the top reason consumers enjoy using video calls is because of convenience, which landed at 65.1 percent, while safety notably came in second at 56.71 percent. 


Had our survey been conducted earlier in the pandemic it’s possible safety would have come in first; convenience sitting comfortably at the top spot indicates that while the pandemic is still ongoing, the motivations influencing consumer behaviors have already begun to change.

Our survey respondents said that in 2021, they want to keep using video primarily for social interaction, work, doctor appointments, and classroom learning—the same top interactions they’re already using it for today. 

Consumers are no longer using video simply because they have to, but because they’ve discovered it has a variety of benefits—like easier ways to connect with loved ones and the elimination of long commutes—which they might not be inclined to leave behind even once circumstances allow.

Other research has also found that consumer behavior is likely to remain consistent regardless of coming changes in circumstance: nearly half of workers want to remain remote post-pandemic, and many patients would prefer to continue using telehealth options rather than returning to fully in-person services.

This makes one thing clear: video is here to stay. But how will it evolve?

Video is more than a temporary solution

One of the key trends identified in our State of Customer Engagement Report is that the future of video will not be as a simple replacement for in-person engagement, but as a tool to create virtually-enhanced and hybrid solutions that surpass in-person experiences. 

Innovators are already beginning to unlock this potential—like AirTutors building interactive whiteboards into video chat, or Yembo pairing AI with real-time video to streamline consultations for moving companies.

Organizations need to start developing strategies now for how to make the most of video in an increasingly competitive, post-pandemic world. Effectively balancing both virtual and physical strategies at an unprecedented scale will soon be a major challenge facing every industry.

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Jessica Palay

Jessica Palay

Jessica Palay is a Product Marketing Manager at Twilio for Programmable Voice.

Jessica holds a MSc. in Social Anthropology from the University of Oxford where she examined how communities react, respond, and incorporate new technologies into their lives. This academic expertise, combined with her tech sales and marketing experience, makes her acutely attuned to how new communication technologies impact the way that people and businesses interact, transact, and form relationships.

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Jessica Palay