The Online Sampling Impact of the Coronavirus Outbreak

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Posted Mar 17, 2020

Last week marked a turning point in the coronavirus outbreak. With cases spreading across the globe, we’re witnessing some extraordinary developments affecting nearly every aspect of our lives. Naturally, the question, how is the outbreak affecting our panelists and their response to surveys invitations?

As of now, we do not see any declines in response rates or lower levels of panelists' activity: 

  • Our PaidViewpoint panel is an online platform that doesn’t involve face-to-face interviewing.
  • Our respondents continue taking surveys they are invited to at their earliest convenience.
  • The outbreak, unlike other natural disasters, does not affect the panelists’ availability due to power outages or loss of Internet connection.
  • A large number of people who normally commute to work every day are now asked to work from home, which frees up extra time.
  • And because of the restrictions on public gatherings and large crowds, people naturally spend more time online, which actually increases the visibility of our survey invitations.

We do anticipate some shifts in demographic representativeness – likely panelists with children will have less time to respond to surveys, due to school closures. Also, likely panelists living in areas that have a higher density of infection will be less prone to respond to surveys. 60+ years old is also a demographic group that may be impacted by the outbreak, however, this is a group that historically has higher than average response rates and we don’t anticipate an effect on online surveys. We advise allowing surveys extra fielding time to enable maximum feasibility and give panelists their fair chance to respond.

Aytm will continue monitoring response rates and data quality vigilantly as usual and we will provide updates to our clients if any changes in panelists’ responsiveness occur.

Lastly, we know you have a lot of questions about how COVID-19 is impacting consumer behaviors and survey taking bias. We're diligently conducting research around this topic, which you'll hear more about next week. In the meantime, please stay safe and know we're here to support you through this difficult time.

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