By Marie Haaland // SWNS
Seven in 10 Americans are planning to participate in more holiday gatherings this year — because they’re being held virtually, according to new research.
A survey of 2,000 Americans revealed 72% of respondents are participating in at least one virtual celebration this holiday season, and of those, 68% plan to be more social than in years past.
Results also revealed 60% of Americans surveyed said virtual celebrations will be the norm for themselves and their family this holiday season, between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.
For those celebrating virtually, 93% said it was thanks mainly or in part due to COVID-19.
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Asurion Home+ home tech protection and support, the survey revealed the ways in which the pandemic is changing how America is celebrating the holiday season.
What they found is that many holiday get-togethers, big and small, will largely be virtual this year — the average online holiday gathering will last nearly two hours and include 11 people on the video celebration.
For those holding virtual celebrations, 69% said more of their extended family is expected to join this year than in years past.
Forty-seven percent of respondents celebrating virtually even said they expect to see someone join their gathering who they’ve been out of touch with as of late.
And for some of these respondents, they’ve been really out of touch — the average person plans to reconnect virtually with someone this holiday season whom they haven’t seen in four years.
Despite the move to more virtual holiday celebrations thanks to COVID-19, more than half of respondents (56%) said their family is coming up with creative ways to preserve holiday traditions this year.
Many respondents plan to save a seat for their laptop at the Thanksgiving dinner table. In fact, over a third of respondents celebrating virtually will participate in three or more virtual Thanksgiving dinners (37%).
And three-quarters of respondents (76%) celebrating virtually said they plan to cook or bake holiday recipes with friends and family via video this holiday season.
Over half (52%) of those partaking in video gatherings will participate in three or more video Christmas Day celebrations with family and friends.
So, with many virtual gatherings happening this season, what are respondents planning to do on these video calls with their loved ones?
In addition to talking and catching up, respondents are doing some casual holiday well-wishing and will even toast the New Year through their screen.
“This year as COVID prevents many extended families from celebrating together in person, video celebrations will play a crucial role in keeping them connected for the holidays. But as we know, tech doesn’t always work when we need it to. It will be important for families to prep their tech to ensure their video celebrations will run smoothly – so they can stay focused on what matters most, rather than fretting about their devices,” said Sarah Day, VP of Marketing at Asurion.
Unfortunately, some people may have trouble joining in on the virtual celebrations — of those planning virtual celebrations, 45% said they have family members who will be unable to join.
For those who might be missing out, respondents said it was due to their loved ones not knowing how to use their tech (37%), not having internet (33%) and not having the right tech devices (31%).
But at least one of those issues might be remedied this year, as 36% plan to give the gift of tech to their family this holiday season.
TOP 10 ACTIVITIES RESPONDENTS PLAN TO DO OVER VIDEO CALLS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON
- Lighting of candles
- Online shop for holiday gifts
- Unwrap presents
- Participate in religious/cultural event or celebration
- Sing Christmas carols
- Have a holiday meal together (other than Thanksgiving)
- Eat Thanksgiving dinner
- Toast the New Year
- Casual holiday well-wishing
- Talk/catch up
WHAT TECH CHALLENGES ARE RESPONDENTS WORRIED WILL INTERFERE WITH THEIR VIRTUAL HOLIDAY CELEBRATIONS?
- Trouble logging in
- Low-quality video/audio
- Distracting background noise
- No video feed
- Trouble using basic video conferencing features (turning on camera, muting/unmuting)