A Year at Home - By the Numbers

S.F. Ehrlich Associates |

March 31, 2021

From Emily Barone at TIME Magazine1, “It was a year ago that the COVID-19 pandemic seized control of our lives. While essential workers remained on the job, the rest of America, confined to quarters, tried to come to terms with a life on pause. Working, learning, and passing the time almost entirely from home meant changes in habits, health, relationships, and plans for the future. Numbers don’t tell the whole story, of course, but these at least describe the contours of the lives we lived.”

  • “People passed time on puzzles; purchases tripled in 2020 according to distributor Puzzle Warehouse;
  • After plummeting last spring, home sales soared in the second half of the year to levels not seen since 2006;
  • 40% of consumers tried home-delivery apps or curbside pickup for the first time during the pandemic;
  • 39% of couples who had planned a 2020 wedding pushed or canceled the reception; 15% postponed the wedding;
  • Residential electricity use in April through July was 10% higher than normal, costing households an extra $6 billion;
  • In January, the savings rate was 20.5%, up from 7.6% a year earlier, yet 2 in 5 adults have had to tap into savings or borrow money;
  • Sex-life quality declined last spring for 44% of adults, according to one online survey; 14% reported an improvement;
  • Vehicles traveled 430 billion fewer miles on US roads in 2020, a drop of about 13% from 2019;
  • A toilet-paper frenzy doubled sales last March. More recently, toilet-paper sales have sunk below pre-pandemic levels;
  • Air travel dropped from 4.5 billion passengers worldwide in 2019 to 1.8 billion in 2020;
  • Worker burnout among US employees at large companies jumped from 42% pre-pandemic to 72% by August;
  • 77% of kids ages 5 to 12 spent at least four hours a day on devices in August vs 35% pre-pandemic. And 8% topped nine hours;
  • While about 20% of US adults are getting less sleep during the pandemic, some 10% are getting more sleep;
  • In June, almost 7% of services listed on US insurance claims related to telehealth, compared with just 0.16% in June 2019;
  • 269,896 pets were adopted from rescue groups in 2020 (36,000 more animals than in 2019);
  • In March 2020, the average adult spent 13.5 hours per day looking at screens – up 3 hr. 20 min. from 2019;
  • Home Depot sales jumped 21% in 2020, while leads for remodeling pros on Houzz.com were up 60% last summer from 2019;
  • Initial data from five states show that divorce rates have declined during the pandemic by about 22%;
  • While 1 in 6 health clubs and gyms closed in 2020, Peloton’s quarterly revenue ending June 30 jumped 172%;
  • 78% of Americans delayed at least one medical service in the three months leading up to February 2021;
  • The online marketplace Etsy sold 53 million face masks from April to September;
  • Americans spent more time baking – sales of yeast quadrupled in March 2020 and nearly doubled for all of 2020;
  • The average household watched 11 hours of streaming video on demand in July – nearly double from a year earlier;
  • Hand sanitizer purchases increased 261% in March 2020 and were up 624% for all of 2020;
  • Public-school buildings closed to all 50.7 million K-12 students last March. Today, 1 in 5 of those kids does virtual-only school;
  • Food orders through delivery service DoorDash hit 816 million in 2020, more than tripling the company’s 2019 orders;
  • E-book and audiobook checkouts via the public library app Libby are up 51% and 23%, respectively, since last March;
  • From May to August, 13% of households spent money on vacations, down from 30% in the same 2019 period; and
  • Online sales of pajamas grew 143% from March 2020 to April 2020, while those for pants and bras fell 13% and 12%.”


1 Barone, Emily, and Lon Tweeten. “29 Numbers Showing How COVID-19 Pandemic Changed Our Lives.” Time, Time, 17 Mar. 2021, time.com/5947302/covid-19-data/.
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