What you've missed most in quarantine

Survey puts restaurants & road trips at the top of “What I’ve missed” in quarantine. Plus, in-store grocery shopping is here to stay.

July 22, 2020
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What you've missed most in quarantine
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What you've missed most in quarantine

COVID-19 and the resulting quarantine measures have changed all of our habits, from work to play. We surveyed thousands of Upside users to get a pulse on what you’ve missed in quarantine, and how your habits have changed.  

Dining out 

More than anything, we’ve missed dining at restaurants while under stay-at-home orders. Of the 1,464 survey respondents, 73% say they’re most eager to dine out again.

For those living in areas where the stay-at-home order has already been lifted, more than 60% have started dining-in at their local restaurants, while almost 40% are still cooking at home. How long will it take for those people to start dining out again? More than 35% say they’ll wait a few more months and about 25% say they’ll wait until there’s a COVID-19 vaccine.

Different journalists suggest that this desire to go back to our local restaurants has less to do with the food we eat than the feeling the dine-in experience brings. This could bode well for our local restaurants once restrictions and distancing measures nationwide are lifted, but restaurants have to make it through first. That’s left restaurants searching for new ways to stay competitive and attract new take-out customers. 

The open road… but in a private car

If you thought that going to bars or pubs would rank next to restaurants on the list of things we’ve missed, we did too. But it turns out that 55% of people miss taking a road trip more than they miss a night out with friends (which was at nearly 33%).

When you think about it, it makes sense. Americans have been quarantined in one way or another since March, and it’s natural that we’d want to go out and explore new terrain. Plus, gas prices are at record lows right now—with per gallon averages just under $2.00—and with Upside it’s even more affordable. 

But is it safe? Even though we miss the open road, over 30% of respondents are not willing to take the risk of travel right now. 

In June, about 56% of respondents were strictly traveling between work and home —about 43% of whom said they plan to wait a few months after stay-at-home orders are lifted before they pick up their travel plans again. And what about the risk-takers who never stopped traveling beyond work & home? Only about 5% of respondents fall into that group.  

When people do start traveling again, it will be in private cars. Aligned with expert advice, only 7% of respondents are willing to use a rideshare service in the post-COVID-19 world. Instead, the vast majority of people (more than 90%) will be taking private or personal cars wherever they need to go.

For those far-away destinations, almost 40% of people are comfortable taking an airplane.  

We’re left to wonder whether or not trains and public buses will become a thing of the past. Public data shows that somewhere between 5% and 11% of Americans used public transit regularly before COVID-19, which is fairly consistent with what we saw in our survey data. About 6% of survey respondents say they are willing to return to train travel, and about 2% are willing to travel by bus at some point. But only time will tell.

In-store grocery shopping is here to stay  

Even though we know that online grocery sales are hitting record highs, this survey makes it clear that people want to be back in store for their regular grocery runs. Where stay-at-home orders have lifted, more than 60% of people said they have already resumed grocery shopping as usual. In fact, more than 30% of respondents said they never stopped going into the store. 

So who are the people ordering groceries online and sending the online grocery platforms through the roof? Whoever they are, they make up only 7% of our survey respondents; and almost 30% of that group said they are waiting for a COVID-19 vaccine before grocery shopping in-store again.

As COVID-19-related restrictions change throughout the U.S., our habits and our preferences change with it. But our need for everyday items like food and fuel (mostly to get to work) remains. We at Upside are bringing more and more restaurants, gas stations, and grocery stories on the platform every day to help you earn on the things you need and miss the most. 

What you've missed most in quarantine

The Upside Team

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The Upside team is made up of data scientists and industry experts who are passionate about delivering empowering content to our readers. With a focus on providing practical insights and meaningful perspectives, we create engaging materials across a wide range of topics. From exploring industry trends and offering expert analysis to sharing useful tips and inspiring ideas, our team works diligently to provide you with the information you need to thrive.

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