At first, we struggled to describe our post-pandemic lives in temporary terms. We "hunkered down". We "self quarantined". We "social distanced". But all of those terms implied a temporary change, and one month into the coronavirus pandemic, we're beginning to accept what people are now calling our "new normal". Even when businesses and travel begin to open up again, we're beginning to accept that things will never be the same, even as we will certainly see some recovery and bounce back.
So what does our "new normal" look like? From how we're finding entertainment, to getting exercise, to getting work done, everything is different. These 10 charts show just how much things have changed, and how far we'll have to go to recover.
1: Travel bookings in China
One of the first signs of the magnitude of the Coronavirus pandemic was a massive shut-down and quarantine order in China. Meanwhile, other governments began severely limiting incoming travel from affected areas. As a result, the number of bookings reported by Chinese travel booking site Tuniu flattened out. Since the end of January, bookings haven't risen after what was a steady uptick for months.
2: Video conferencing software usage
Just months ago, Zoom Meetings were a relatively niche product used by businesses that did a lot of remote work and meetings. But with the entire business world working from home, Zoom Meetings has become the videoconferencing platform of choice, and the engagement numbers reflect as much. Since March, the number of reviews for Zoom has risen an astonishing 1,111%.
3: Pet adoptions in the USA
Working from home has made us all re-think our personal space, from home offices to how we share our rooms. It's also made many people lonely — so much so that thousands of people have added a new pet to their lives. According to daily numbers published by PetSmart, adoptions have continued to grow even during the pandemic.
4: New gym memberships in Australia
Exercise is good for the immune system and the mood, two things that are critical as we spend all of our time shut inside. And just as yoga mats have sold more than ever, real-world gym memberships have plummeted. Viva Leisure, which was reporting nearly 10,000 new memberships per day, now reports 0 new memberships per day as it's shuttered all of its locations.
5: Online classes in South Korea
It's isn't just adults learning to work from home in our "new normal". Students, from kindergarten to graduate school, are learning to learn from home via remote learning platforms like Classting. Before the pandemic, Classting listed around 367,000 online courses. As of last week, that number grew to more than 430,000.
6: Twitch viewership worldwide
Videogame streaming platform Twitch.tv was always a huge thing. The Amazon-owned service was already home to billions of viewers before everyone was sheltered in place, but in April the number of concurrent viewers reported by Twitch took off. Perhaps not surprisingly, the most popular channels on Twitch.tv are no longer streams of other people playing videogames. Rather, they're "Just Chatting" channels in which people just look to connect, chat, and be as social as they can while being home alone.
7: Gig jobs worldwide
Unemployment claims in the United States alone have reached nearly 17 million, a number that eclipses what we saw during the 2008 financial crisis. Meanwhile, gig jobs, which might provide some temporary salve to those looking to make ends meet, haven't risen to the occasion. The number of jobs reported at Upwork has dwindled during the pandemic, perhaps a reflection of the number of companies who may turn to gig sites like Upwork that are still in business.
8. Hospitality jobs worldwide
If people aren't traveling, people aren't booking hotel rooms. In order to stay afloat until things get back to some form of normal, major hotel chains like Hilton, Marriott, and Hyatt have cut hiring to a near standstill.
9. Cruise line prices worldwide
The idea of going on a cruise once we're allowed to move about freely once again may sound absurd to some, but the cruising industry was a multi-billion dollar money maker. World's largest Carnival Cruises has docked all of its boats, but it is still accepting reservations for future cruises. Not surprisingly, prices are diving as it hopes to collect future bookings for a time when boats are sailing again.
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.